Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Look Beyond the Surface - Connecting with Creativity

This is a post more about the creative process rather than a technique so bear with me.

As you are aware, I am in the process of editing and revising my book. On positive side, I am happy with the story. I can see the potential. I love the characters, and the world.

But it's a gem that needs a damn good polish.

Initially, as I was going over the revised first scene, I knew something wasn't right. It was bit discouraging knowing something isn't right, but not knowing quite what it is. It's not a question of good dialogue or wrong spelling. All that is fine. And yet something was missing.

But while I was worrying about that last week, my muse insisted on playing. I had a non-fiction project brewing in my mind for over a year, and suddenly the ideas started pouring out so I decided to let the Muse be in-charge, and made notes. I say, made notes, because I barely had to think. It was fabulous, and gave me such a high that no amount of caffeine or chocolate has ever done.

I could have forced myself to stick to my WIP, keep trolling through the editing. A part of me did feel guilty for not making as much progress with editing as I had scheduled, but a greater part of me was happy and content, and knew this was the right thing. So muse and I played, and then we took some time to read a new book on journaling, which inspired us to dig deeper into our journal, and now we are both refreshed, and know that we are ready to talk to our main character.

Because after giving myself time to just be creative without worrying about the end product, I also realised what bothered me about my WIP. The overall tone of the story is not yet as I want it to be. The main character's voice seems to casual for the story, or for his own depth.

After taking the time to be creative through my journal, just enjoying the fun, I can move forward. Editing on schedule is all very well, and I am not against discipline. Discipline is a key to succeed if one wants to have a long-term writing career, but we also have to remember that this isn't a regular, logical job. This is a creative process - and it has its own schedule, and sometimes it knows far better than we do, when we are ready to move forward.

So this evening, I plan to have a good chat with my MC and see what he has to tell me. Meanwhile, I shall continue to analyse my WIP rather than be fixated with making it perfect immediately. I need to understand the problems before I can fix them. I need to look below the surface - listen to what the story and the characters have to say. And sometimes, I just need to throw the schedule out of the window, and listen to the Muse.


  1. Good luck! I always love having a chat with my characters. I'm sure he'll set you straight. :P

  2. *sigh* So true, so true. As you know, I've been seriously fighting my revision course, since the first 2 months have been all about figuring out what's wrong with my WIP (and I'm impatient, I want to start fixing!). But the process is working despite my best attempts to circumvent it. I need to learn how to relax, and just go with the flow for awhile.

    You'll be happy to know that I downloaded some free journalling software to try some of your prompts on the other blog...I can't make myself keep a paper journal, but thought I'd try a digital-but-offline one. Maybe that will help me relax a bit and let the muse work. ;-)

  3. Sounds like you and I are at the same point in our WIP's. It's a hard place to be, but it's where, I think, the most creativity lies.

    Good luck to you!!

  4. Elana,

    Yup I had a great chat, and we have an appointment to meet again tonight :-)


    I have found the same thing. Initially I was focused on getting it done, following the schedule, but now that I have relaxed about it a bit and given myself permission to have a learning curve, I feel much better about it.

    Ooh Journaling :-) Of course I am glad. It's fabulous. I look forward to hearing how it works out for you.


    Thanks. Yup definitely hard - but it's satisfying in a strange way too, because I know that all the new things I am learning are going to make it much better.