The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock

bantock_tricksterBantock, Nick. The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity. New York: Perigee, 2014. Print.

Genre: Writer’s/Artist’s craft book

Summary: A little book brimming over with exercises to get you thinking, working, and creating! The author also helps you pinpoint when and where your self doubt is likely to creep in, how to curb it, and maybe abandon it altogether! I recently featured this book in my post Stoke the Soul Fires!

Critique: Bantock wisely acknowledges that all Creatives procrastinate. But rather than scold, he helps us see how we can turn our thumb-twiddling into powerful creative energy. Having trouble putting something down on the blank page or canvass? Try doing a timed doodle. Draw a 1″ by 1″ box, and in one minute, see how many animals you can draw in that box. Stick figures are fine. Then in another minute, draw that same box, minus one side. Now see how many animals you can draw ESCAPING that box in one minute! Super challenging, and super immersive! Writing after this exercise always feels jazzed and electric!

Other exercises include going outside to  build a village out of found objects or items, creating your own words and definitions, splicing two paragraphs from two different books and revising an all-new beautiful bit of prose!


Try any or all of Bantock’s wacky exercises and do so without the guilt of, “but I’m not writing.” The key is you are playing and playtime is a powerful source of creative power!

By jenmichellemason

Jenny is a story hunter. She has explored foreign countries, canyon mazes, and burial crypts to gather the facts that make good stories. Once, she sniffed a 200-year-old skull...for research purposes. Jenny received an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She has authored nearly 20 STEM books for young readers. Her inquisitive and funny nonfiction articles have appeared in Mountain Flyer, Cobblestone, and Muse magazines. Jenny also works as a freelance copy writer for nonprofits and small businesses.

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