Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rocket Fuel for a Writing Life

I'm still enjoying the prompts from the DIYMFA book club. They've got a very active group over on Facebook, too. If you're interested in exploring these themes about your own writing, I highly recommend giving them a look!

Today's question is: What feeds YOUR creativity?

Knowing what fuels your creativity is SO IMPORTANT if you're going to make a go of your creative endeavor of choice. All of us have certain supports that have to be in place or it's a no-go.

I considered just saying "caffeine" because tea and coffee definitely have a starring role in my writing life, but I decide to explore the topic a little more deeply than that.

For me, it comes down to two basic things:

Taking care of myself AND seeking interesting input.

Taking care of myself may seem pretty basic, but it's something I have to consciously remind myself to do at times. I can't think well if I am exhausted, hungry, or headachy and thinking is kind of necessary to the writing process.

I do my writing at night most of the time, after a full teaching day and seeing my family through meals, homework, and whatever else life throws at us. It's easy to accidentally stay up very late that way. But nobody likes underslept Samantha! She's a Crankasaurus Rex.

Taking care of myself sometimes means keeping myself on a time leash and protecting me from me. Even if I'm in the groove, I have hard stop times each night.

Since I also write everyday, come hell or high water, it evens out. And it can be a great feeling to sit back down the next day raring to go because I had to stop before I really wanted to the night before.  (YMMV: After years of teaching and mom-ing, I'm used to working while being constantly interrupted; I'm good at putting a pin in it and leaving good notes that help me find my place again quickly).

It also means saying no to things, which I am not good at, but see the necessity of. I have to protect my writing time by NOT attending every reading, books club, and workshop in the Triangle. And there are *a lot* of great writing related events in my corner of North Carolina, so that can be hard to balance.

The other side of that balance is the "interesting input" part of things. I need exposure to new things. Novelty keeps me interested.  Learning excites me.

So, sometimes, I say YES, too.  I go to the piano recital or middle school production. I watch the movie everyone is talking about. I read the book. I take the class; I try the new hobby.

I go out and talk to people (good conversation with interesting people is rocket fuel for my writing).

It's not just that it's a break (though it is that, too). But having disparate ideas bounce around in my noggin causes connections and inspirations that wouldn't happen otherwise. Some of my favorite ideas starting with a simple daydreaming, "What if?"

So, there's my secret formula for writing fuel: self care and interesting input.

The nice thing is that it doesn't have to be expensive. Just people watching at the park can be enough to get my storytelling brain spinning (I LOVE writing backstories for strangers). The key is keeping tabs on myself and noticing burnout or loss of interest and actively seeking the spark that keeps imagination ignited and curiosity's head on a swivel.

How about you? What fuels your creativity?

1 comment:

  1. I like stopping in the middle too, so there's some momentum to start again.