Serenity ... What's That?

Friday, July 22, 2005

What fuels creativity?

Okay, so in recent times my writer's group broke up, I basically quit writing, quit reading and ignored everything that used to be fun and exciting in my imagination. Go figure.

I was exhausted, mentally, by the toll taken on me from years of frustrating rejections, starts, stops and critiques that became the block through which I tried to write. It really sucks when you know every word you're putting down on paper, every scene you slog through, is going to be slammed in some way, no matter how damn good you think it is. While I was never married to any of my words, I also knew they didn't stink like I eventually came to believe. When your work is trashed the same way often enough, you start to doubt everything: your ability to write, your creativity, your talent. It all goes down the toilet.
And believe me, in this business, hell in any business that requires someone else's approval, being blocked is the worst thing that could happen. If you get rejected, at least you're writing enough to submit something.

There's a cliche in my industry about everyone wants to write a book, but only a few actually do it. Well, I lost sight of the fact that I have accomplished that feat 10 times. I have finished 10 different manuscripts. That's something. Even if they never see the light of publishing day.

On our recent trip to Galveston, I drove by myself for almost two hours. Instead of listening to music as is my wont, I listened to a conference tape from my very fist conference in 1999. The tape was called Discovering Story Magic by Laura Baker and Robin Perini.

I only put it in because I was bored with the CDs in my car - I'd listened to them a gazillion times each (at least!). Amazingly enough, the tape did exactly what I needed it to do. It sparked creativity. It sent ideas running rampant through my head and down through my fingers. For the first time in what feels like forever I actually sat down and wrote with fervor, with joy, with abandon. For the first time in nearly three years I was writing for myself. Not a word set down on paper that day was for any of my critique partners, not for any editor, not for the market. They were for my characters and myself.

Damn, it felt good. I'd be lying if I said, though, it was the sole reason I've begun writing again. It's been simmering for a few months, at least. Little things will set off alarm bells and spurts of "holy moly, I have to write that down!" Heck, I even swiped a line from a friend's song that has been helping me create one of the hottest love scenes I've ever written. Flashes are all that's needed. And the desire, the belief that you can do it.

I'm slowly working my way back to the way it used to be for me. The days when I could crank out 10 pages in an hour, a chapter in two days. The structure of having everything just the way that *I* want it and no one else. Writing for myself. What a concept.

It's not that I don't appreciate my friends and my cps, it's just that I got so accustomed to the idea of writing for them that I lost my joy for it.

Thanks to certain individuals, their contributions - however unknown - and the support of those who know me best, I feel like I'm almost ready to get back into that writing ring.

Which is a really good thing considering I've got an editor waiting on two proposals from me. If I let this opportunity pass me by, I'll regret it. And we all know I live my life with no regrets.

Here's to whatever sparks you and a heartfelt thank you to those who've inspired me. I hope you know who you are.


  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger Michelle Miles said…

    I'm glad to hear you're writing again. Sometimes you just have to forget the world, step into yours, and write whatever comes. Good luck with those proposals - you'd better get 'em in the mail (I got mine in the mail!). ;)

  • At 2:10 PM, Blogger Devon Ellington said…

    Glad to hear you're writing again. It's what writers do -- they HAVE to write -- it's like breathing.

    Sounds like the writers' group wasn't a very good fit -- the whole point is to find what works best in each writer's work and encourage that, not slam the work.

    ALWAYS write for yourself, and then decide where the best market fit is.

    Best of luck.

    Ink in My Coffee


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