My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘creativity’

Other Creative Pursuits

I know many other prospective novelists have other creative pursuits besides writing. Some draw, others are musicians and others are photographers. Me? I like working on book trailers 🙂 I’m not that talented at it, but I find it helps me find more inspiration with my writing. I probably also shouldn’t spend hours on end with it, but if it gives me a renewed perspective with my book, why not?

If you’re a writer, do you pursue other creative outlets? I’m curious 🙂

And the waters became still…

I started working on my former WiP today. I’ve been unable to write much for Lady of the Snow recently; getting 500 words out is a challenge on a daily basis. But I just wrote 500 in less than twenty minutes for my other WiP. If anything, it’ll help me get the juices flowing again for Lady of the Snow, a project I desperately want to work on. Perhaps because I’m so desperate to work on it, it’s getting in the way of the story.

I’ve got such a lack of focus. It’s sad really 😛

If you’re stumbling on a project, do you divert your attention elsewhere? Does it help?

Mad Anthony Writer’s Conference Review

I’ve been lazy the last few days in updating the blog 😛

Anyway, the conference on Saturday was good. I met a few writers from all over Ohio and one that traveled from Iowa. It’s interesting to see what everyone’s writing. I think I was the only one who wrote historical, but that seems to be the case most of the time.

I liked the sessions I went to, although a few were a little disappointing. The magazine writing one was done in about 45 minutes, when each session was scheduled for an hour and 15 minute time slots. Oh well! The info she did give was helpful, if I ever decide to try and pursue that path.

The session about creating dynamic characters was very inspiring. The speaker was an author as well as an actor, so he really knew how to capture everyone’s attention. He said that he likes to create his characters by pacing through the house and acting each of their roles out; he even likes to act them out in front of family and friends. I think that’s a good idea, although I don’t think I could act in front of people. 😛 I know that I’ve often rehearsed scenes by talking to myself and “acting” as said character while I’m in the car (other drivers must think I’m insane) or in the shower, so I can definitely relate to that.

Another session, though a little on the odd side, had a few helpful tips on how to jumpstart the creative process. The speaker was a psychologist, so a lot of what she was saying was a little too “shrink”-ish for me, but she did have some good points. She said that writers, and artists in general, often think  the creative process is something that should be done entirely alone and independent from others; many will think they are weak if they need help or support. She said that in reality, writers and artists need support and encouragement from others, those she calls “mirrors” (people who reflect us and appreciate what we do), “idols” (those who inspire you) and “twins” (people who are in the same area we are and are facing the same struggles). Though it wasn’t anything completely new, she did have good points: many writers do think that we have to face our projects on our own but having support through the process is crucial and would probably help many writers and artists get out of the creative “slump” they are in.

There was also an agent and publisher Q&A session. I found that many of the questions that were asked by other writers, I already knew the answers to, thanks to reading all the agent blogs I do (as well as various other blogs by writers).  It was funny because when someone would ask a question, I’d answer it in my head and it would be pretty similar to what one of the agents said 😛  Still, it’s always nice to hear it again: repetition helps me to remember for when the time comes for me to submit.

Anyway, I am going to try and go next year. I do wish I went to some of the other sessions they had, like creating compelling villains. But what I went to was worth the money and networking with others and seeing everyone’s passion for the craft was really inspiring.

Character Blog

I encourage everyone to check out the blog, Come in Character, developed by Mira (a frequent commenter on agent Nathan Bransford’s blog.)

It’s a creative way for you to go and come as a character from one of your stories.  It’s a good exercise for you to understand those characters of yours and perhaps discover something you never knew before. I only just found it today, but I’m thinking it’ll quickly become one of my favorites.

Go ahead and check it out!

A Bit of a Writer’s Slump

Not surprising that I’m going through yet another one of these spells of what I like to call “writer’s slump.” Not exactly like writer’s block, just the fact that the motivation is getting hard to find. Hence the name.

Perhaps it’s because the past week has been a bit on the crazy side. First, there was the sudden death of a beloved family pet.

Then came traveling a total of 6 hours to Cleveland and back to Dayton between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon (not something I complain about–it’s nice to see my family).

Of course there was the great celebrating of a first anniversary yesterday.

And I can’t forget the myriad of new and often confusing responsibilities I’ve been given at work.

I must admit through all of this, the creative juices have stagnated 😛

It’s hard to keep it flowing when I’m just so busy all the time! I know–it’s not a valid excuse. A true writer would keep going regardless. Perhaps I’m not a true writer in that sense. I find it very hard to keep writing when so much is going on…I try but often with less than stellar results.

Still, what’s the use of complaining about it? It really gets me no where 😛 I just need to try harder.

I need to make every month like NaNo…it’s just hard for me to get into that mindset.

Outlining Before NaNoWriMo

Throughout the past week, I’ve been revamping and changing my outline for CHRYSANTHEMUM PROMISE.  I’ve added more chapters to the beginning to better identify the close relationship between my MC Kaiyo and her mother; I’ve taken out a few characters and one sidestory that I thought would draw attention away from the main one; and I’ve added another character.

I’m figuring I probably should actually work on outlining what I’m actually writing for NaNo instead of the changes, but that pesky inner editor of mine wasn’t letting me 😛 So, the goal this weekend and the coming week is to get through most of the outline–at least to Part III.

I know I won’t follow this exactly–I always change something along the way as I’m actually writing–but at least it’s there to give me an idea of what will happen next. While I’m generally not an organized person, when I’m writing I have to be, at least somewhat. I cannot understand how writers can go without outlines–I’d be going all over the place. Perhaps they feel that an outline stifles the creativity. But each has their own style that works for them. Mine is the basic ever-changing outline.

If you’re writing for NaNo–or just writing a book at all–are you outlining it? Or do you work better without one?

The Connection Between Music and Writing

I find that I’m deeply affected by music when I’m writing. I don’t know about you, but I always see my story play through my brain like a movie–complete with a full orchestral soundtrack. 

Anyway, I have a “soundtrack” of sorts that I listen to when I’m writing. They help me visualize the scenes better. Most of the time, it’s instrumental in nature, though I do have a few songs with lyrics to them.

For example, one of my favorite “songs” for my book is The Chairman’s Waltz from Memoirs of a Geisha. Something about the way the violin plays so beautfully in that song just makes me envision my MC up in the Snow Country of Japan,learning to adapt to a different life. It also displays the budding romance that’s occuring in her life.

Then there’s Nara by E.S. Posthumous. It’s a song that’s normally been used in movie previews. It helps me to envision my book as a whole, as I can see the story progressing much as a preview would. I always listen to this before I start writing.

There are many others; some classical pieces like Schubert’s Ave Maria as well as the Bach/Gounod version of the same song; Pachebel’s Canon in D is another one too. Then there’s about a dozen or so various songs (like Waiting for the World to Fall by Jars of Clay and Stand in the Rain by Superchick) that I feel describe my characters. The list is ever growing!

I know I’m not the only one who does this; my younger sister is in the middle of writing a fantasy and she has certain “theme” songs for her book too. I think music helps to open the mind and stimulate those creative juices.

What Gets Your Creative Juices Flowing?

So, I’m posing a question to all writers/artists/musicians/bloggers–anyone really–and wondering: What gets your creative juices flowing?

It’s a variety of things for me, but I find that I come up with my best stuff while I’m in the shower. I don’t know why–perhaps the hot water opens up the pores or something–but that’s when it normally comes. I’ve worked my way through many countless writer block occurences and come up with many of my short story ideas (in fact, the only one I had published came while I was in the shower at college).

Of course it’s not the ideal place…especially since you can’t really take a pen and paper in there or leave it on the side, for water will still get all over it. That and there are times I may get so caught up in a storyline that I’m seeing in my head that I don’t realize how long I’ve been in there…so that can’t be too good for my water bill 😛 I’ve debated taking those bath crayons in there but I can’t very well write all over the walls every time–that would be a lot of cleaning to do afterwords and I’d still have to transfer it to something more permanent.

I find that listening to certain music, especially music soundtracks, will also put me in the mood to write. The ideas may not flow as well as they do in the shower, but I’ve done a great deal of writing while listening to my favorite soundtracks.

Anyway, I’m curious–I’d like to know what makes the ideas/words/pictures flow in your head. 🙂 (And Yes, I came up with the idea for this post when I was–you guessed it–in the shower).

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