I find a challenge is best when looking to boost my creativity. Maybe I should say I’m finding that a challenge is best to really get the gears turning in my mind. This month’s challenge is prepping a novel, which may not seem like such a big deal when one considers that I’ve done this before. Often. But this one I’ve poured my heart into and it’s coming out my ears.
I have a protagonist that has an interesting voice. I have a couple antagonists, one obvious that is simply annoying and a potentially more difficult one who seems friendly mixed in with a lovely set of background events and characters who promise to make life difficult for the main character. I found a big question that my novel is probably answering.
The big challenge today was finding the question. The answer has not yet presented itself, but I’m still working. It’s silly because I wasn’t looking for that particular question. It just popped out of the free-writing exercise like it belonged right in the center of attention. So now, when I think my mind might be quiet, I hear that question whispering through my mind.
Like right before that yoga class I teach, I heard it. Luckily I didn’t repeat it out loud – I replaced it with ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’ and some movements for my students to follow along. I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day, but it just isn’t clear what the best -or worst- thing to happen is.
I know some people don’t write with all this kind of preparation. A few people can dig right into the novel and write from Once Upon a Time and go until The End and have a story when they finish. Often it has to be dusted out of the wreckage of several drafts, but that’s the fun of writing, isn’t it?
I’m curious what you do to find your answers to those questions when you’re writing or when you’re planning a big project. Do you wait for inspiration to strike, or do you hunt down the answers to those questions with single-minded ferocity?