Where Do You Find Your Answers?

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?

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Feeling Creative

I know it’s from an entire week of doing almost nothing but reading, writing, and critiquing. Almost nothing, because while I abandoned my family responsibilities I did call home twice a day to talk to my two year old. I think she appreciated it.

Having the focus and the deadlines made me do much more toward writing than I do in my normal life. I read every day, though it isn’t much. I write more often than not. [I know I’m supposed to say I write every day here, too, and I’m working on it. I’m on a 23 day streak at 750words and I wrote more than that most days of the class. Not quite every day, but I’m getting closer.]

I read a lot of excerpts and short stories I might not have found otherwise. I’m still working on organizing my list of books to read. I went to two readings at Prairie Lights, too.

During lectures sometimes I had to write down questions, little sparks of information that might turn into interesting stories. Probably will, but who knows when? It’s just a great week to start thinking about everything that everyday life seems to push to the side.

Which brings the inevitable spark of guilt about that novel I’ve been rewriting. The short story I’d like to keep a short story threatens to become another novel draft. Okay, it’d be a good novel, but I need another novel to write like I need a flat tire. Please, don’t let me be tempting fate with that statement because I still remember having issues with flat tires. Cross your fingers for me.

Sometimes I hear the clock ticking, like I need to be finished with this project or other by a certain date. I don’t like having so many projects unfinished. How many writing projects can one person juggle? And that one person better not be one of those machine-authors who has a couple books out a year. I think they must use interesting devices to play with time or not need sleep or something else out of a speculative fiction book.

How many writing projects can you handle? Do you make them wait their turn in line or do you let some of them skip the queue if they’re insistent? Maybe I’ll make them fight it out in my dreams or something and let the winner get written – even though that would totally be unfair to have a half-human fighter against some random teenagers. Of course, the teenagers have their own posses, so perhaps the better money would be on them.

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. Happy writing to all.

Energy

Reading a book, do people actually do that?

“70 percent of energy is emotional, not physical.” This phrase really stuck out at me. We talk about energy, how we have it or we don’t, and we don’t always talk about where it comes from or what we can do to keep it up.

All creative people need energy for their art. Is that why when we work those jobs to pay the bills we get bogged down with details that can’t be reconciled to continue our art? So many times the really creative people get sucked into jobs that limit their outlets in the things we can enjoy.

I can’t say it’s better to be a starving artist, but maybe it takes a lot to overcome the daily necessities to be an artist (I mean this broader than just someone who paints – but also musicians, writers, and all the others who get by on their creative talents).

We also ought to give ourselves a break. Indulge the creativity, but rest when necessary to keep that emotional energy high. So many people have the ability to be creative, but if we let our obligations get to us, it might feel like there isn’t room for the rest.

Enjoy the time to be creative. Get carried away by excitement now and then.