creativity

Stories Don’t Write Themselves. Ever.

>I don’t think terms like “the story wrote itself” or “my characters write my novels” are either accurate or helpful.

It may be pretty–in theory–all whimsical and mysterious. But, **reality check**, stories don’t write themselves. Characters (I know this will come as a shock to some) are figments of a writer’s imagination, so, sorry, they don’t have the power to write novels.

It gives rise to the idea that creativity is a separate entity. That you, as the writer, have no control over said entity and are at its fickle whim. For any writer struggling with their work, these terms can be discouraging at best, crippling at worst.

Stories and characters may take on energy, but it’s your (the writer’s) energy, not the story’s, not the character’s.

So next time you hear someone breezing about how their story is writing itself or how their characters have taken over and they (the writer) are but mere transcription tools, remember:

1) The writer is having a good day, is in “the zone”, or is writing pure crap and they just don’t know it yet.

2) The writer is experiencing a rush of subconscious communication that he or she has been cultivating–whether known or unknown to the writer–for months, if not years.

3) Your creativity is part of YOU. It is cultivated by you, fed by you and ultimately controlled by you. So if you’re not feeling it on a particular day, or during a particular week or month, that doesn’t mean it’s gone.

I thought this article was a good illustration of how the writer took control of the seemingly “disconnected” ideas and related to them to how his own brain brought them to light — giving credit where credit is due: YOU, the writer!

You, too, will have these in-the-zone days. So when they come and words seem to be flying out of your mind and through your fingers out of nowhere, don’t give inanimate objects credit! You think hard. You plot hard. You write hard. Claim your victory!

>Stories Don’t Write Themselves. Ever.

>I don’t think terms like “the story wrote itself” or “my characters write my novels” are either accurate or helpful.

It may be pretty–in theory–all whimsical and mysterious. But, **reality check**, stories don’t write themselves. Characters (I know this will come as a shock to some) are figments of a writer’s imagination, so, sorry, they don’t have the power to write novels.

It gives rise to the idea that creativity is a separate entity. That you, as the writer, have no control over said entity and are at its fickle whim. For any writer struggling with their work, these terms can be discouraging at best, crippling at worst.

Stories and characters may take on energy, but it’s your (the writer’s) energy, not the story’s, not the character’s.

So next time you hear someone breezing about how their story is writing itself or how their characters have taken over and they (the writer) are but mere transcription tools, remember:

1) The writer is having a good day, is in “the zone”, or is writing pure crap and they just don’t know it yet.

2) The writer is experiencing a rush of subconscious communication that he or she has been cultivating–whether known or unknown to the writer–for months, if not years.

3) Your creativity is part of YOU. It is cultivated by you, fed by you and ultimately controlled by you. So if you’re not feeling it on a particular day, or during a particular week or month, that doesn’t mean it’s gone.

I thought this article was a good illustration of how the writer took control of the seemingly “disconnected” ideas and related to them to how his own brain brought them to light — giving credit where credit is due: YOU, the writer!

You, too, will have these in-the-zone days. So when they come and words seem to be flying out of your mind and through your fingers out of nowhere, don’t give inanimate objects credit! You think hard. You plot hard. You write hard. Claim your victory!

Replenishing the Well

>I recently took the opportunity to do something just for me. (Was that a gasp I heard? I know. I’m a rebel.)

It’s important for everyone to rejuvinate their soul, but even more so for creative people. Crap in=crap out, right? Replenishing the well and all that, right?

I just came home from a scrapbooking retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Scrapbooking retreat? you ask? Why would you possibly want to do a scapbooking retreat?

First, let me say what’s NOT involved in a scrapbooking retreat: No cooking, no cleaning, no nagging, no phone calls, no Internet access, no requests outside an occasional, “Can I borrow your cutter?”

What IS involved: Lots of smiling, ton of laughing, bunch of prize giveaways, awesome creativity and camaraderie, gorgeous setting, incredible food all prepared for you, someone to clean up after you, scrapbooking shopping areas, no bedtime, very few rules.

Now, I’ll share our itinerary.

Friday: Arrive at 2pm; dinner at 6pm; snack at 9pm.
Our activities: Set up. Scrap. Eat (Burrito Bar, 4 different kinds of fruit, soup). Scrap. Eat (Brownies). Scrap. Sleep.

Saturday: Breakfast bar at 8:30, brunch at 10:30, lunch at 2:00, dinner at 6:00, snack at 9:00.
Our activities: Eat (Oatmeal-real stuff, 8 different cereals, fruit). Scrap. Eat (3 different fritattas, asparagus, ham, Hollandaise, cinnamon rolls from scratch). Scrap. Eat (Baked chicken, baked potatoes w/ fixings, chili, soup, salad bar). Scrap. Eat (Cake–carrot and chocolate). Scrap. Eat. Scrap. Sleep.

Sunday: Breakfast 9:00, lunch 1:00, Checkout.
Our activities: Scrap. Eat (Cinnamon rolls again–can never get too many, coffee cake, hard boiled eggs, cream of wheat, fruit). Scrap. Eat (Homemade rolls, deli meat, deli cheeses, egg salad, chips, salad bar, soup, rice crispie treats). Cleanup. Leave at 2pm.

Needless to say, my weight watchers week 2 was blown to hell. But it was so worth it.

(BTW: This would be an AWESOME location for a WRITER’S RETREAT…hint, hint.)

Today, I’m on a retreat of a different kind. I’ve scheduled a little romantic getaway for my DH and me. We’ve run off to a little beach hotel half an hour from home for some R&R and quality time. Tomorrow, back to the reality of our opposite schedules and the requirements of our two teenage daughters.

When was the last time you took some time out for yourself? Does anyone take creative retreats? Your advice on replenishing the well?

>Replenishing the Well

>I recently took the opportunity to do something just for me. (Was that a gasp I heard? I know. I’m a rebel.)

It’s important for everyone to rejuvinate their soul, but even more so for creative people. Crap in=crap out, right? Replenishing the well and all that, right?

I just came home from a scrapbooking retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Scrapbooking retreat? you ask? Why would you possibly want to do a scapbooking retreat?

First, let me say what’s NOT involved in a scrapbooking retreat: No cooking, no cleaning, no nagging, no phone calls, no Internet access, no requests outside an occasional, “Can I borrow your cutter?”

What IS involved: Lots of smiling, ton of laughing, bunch of prize giveaways, awesome creativity and camaraderie, gorgeous setting, incredible food all prepared for you, someone to clean up after you, scrapbooking shopping areas, no bedtime, very few rules.

Now, I’ll share our itinerary.

Friday: Arrive at 2pm; dinner at 6pm; snack at 9pm.
Our activities: Set up. Scrap. Eat (Burrito Bar, 4 different kinds of fruit, soup). Scrap. Eat (Brownies). Scrap. Sleep.

Saturday: Breakfast bar at 8:30, brunch at 10:30, lunch at 2:00, dinner at 6:00, snack at 9:00.
Our activities: Eat (Oatmeal-real stuff, 8 different cereals, fruit). Scrap. Eat (3 different fritattas, asparagus, ham, Hollandaise, cinnamon rolls from scratch). Scrap. Eat (Baked chicken, baked potatoes w/ fixings, chili, soup, salad bar). Scrap. Eat (Cake–carrot and chocolate). Scrap. Eat. Scrap. Sleep.

Sunday: Breakfast 9:00, lunch 1:00, Checkout.
Our activities: Scrap. Eat (Cinnamon rolls again–can never get too many, coffee cake, hard boiled eggs, cream of wheat, fruit). Scrap. Eat (Homemade rolls, deli meat, deli cheeses, egg salad, chips, salad bar, soup, rice crispie treats). Cleanup. Leave at 2pm.

Needless to say, my weight watchers week 2 was blown to hell. But it was so worth it.

(BTW: This would be an AWESOME location for a WRITER’S RETREAT…hint, hint.)

Today, I’m on a retreat of a different kind. I’ve scheduled a little romantic getaway for my DH and me. We’ve run off to a little beach hotel half an hour from home for some R&R and quality time. Tomorrow, back to the reality of our opposite schedules and the requirements of our two teenage daughters.

When was the last time you took some time out for yourself? Does anyone take creative retreats? Your advice on replenishing the well?