Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG: Your Creative Well



A few weeks ago, I saw the Broadway show Hamilton and for whatever reason, as it happens every once in a while, I felt so incredibly creatively inspired.

And then I came home, read over the short story I've been working on since frickin' September, read my critique buddies' notes, and wondered if I really wanted to salvage what I'd been trying to do. The answer? No. My critique partners had great ideas and great pointers, but I couldn't see a way to get it together in that story.

So I decided to try another story idea and although I'm only a little over a thousand words into the first draft, it already feels much better. I'm not sure how much of that is due to getting my creative well filled up via Hamilton and how much of that is due to the idea being a little more in my wheelhouse.

A lot of authors will say that writing everyday is the most important thing and it is, whether you feel inspired or not. But there's a huge difference, for me, in writing something that I feel like I'm only grasping with my fingernails and writing something that I feel almost immersed in.

So, don't forget to fill up your creative well, people. Go read a book you didn't write, watch a movie, geek out over a Broadway cast album, go see a ballet, try to learn the Lindy Hop, or learn how to bake a pumpkin pie.






33 comments:

  1. Totally! Working on something that feels right makes all the difference in the world! So does taking a step back and taking in some theatre. I always feel inspired to get to work whenever I go. ^_^

    I also leave with another story idea, but I don't mind. :)

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    1. It's not actually a *new* idea, per se (when you read it, you might recognize a few characters) but I'm finally seeing a way through it that I didn't see not too long ago...and I'm having fun writing it. Plus, the critiques you, Michelle, and Karla gave me on the other thing are definitely helping in pacing out this story!

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    2. Oh yay! ^_^ I can't wait to see it!

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  2. Thought provoking post. I've struggled with the idea of writing everyday as part of NaNoWriMo, but not being inspired by what I was writing. Glad you've found something that is flowing for you with your new story idea. Cheers - Ellen

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    1. That happened to me last year with NaNo as well. It goes a lot easier when you're actually into what you're writing.

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  3. We're seeing Hamilton in February! I've heard great things. We're spending five months in NYC, and I'm filling the creative well every day! We're having so much fun.

    Sometimes the struggle to shape a piece of writing is worthwhile, and other times it isn't. It's not always easy to tell the difference, but it sounds like you are recognizing it. I have a novel in a drawer that still seems like a good idea, but it needs (I think) to be started from scratch. I may or may not get to it, because other ideas are working out much better.

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    1. Ooh, yay! I hope you enjoy it! I went with my two best friends and we loved it.

      I was going to post about those pesky ideas I keep trying and re-trying--I've had a few in my time--but they never seem to work. I guess I get stubborn and think that if I do this to so-and-so idea, it'll work. No, it doesn't.

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  4. Congrats on filling up your well. Sometimes we don't take the time to do that. And we must or the well goes dry. Good job on setting aside something that isn't working and immersing yourself in something that does work.

    Best wishes,
    Diane
    IWSG #85

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    1. Thanks! I didn't mention it in the post, but I've also been cooking more, so that's cool, too. Plus--tasty food!

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  5. It is so much easier when the cup overflows. I believe you are on to something. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  6. Everyone is Hamilton crazy! I keep hearing about it from writer friends.

    I agree, other art outside of writing can be so inspiring. I love the TV show Fargo. It's very dark, but different than what else is on.It's quieter, not as flashy, has more movie-like cinematography. Words aren't wasted. Another show with fantastic writing was Justified. No wasted, cliched dialogue there either.

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    1. Listen to the cast album, if you can. It's kind of a crazy idea to put hip-hop music to the story of a Founding Father--that's not something that would occur to most people--but it's amazing.

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  7. Yes. Filling up your well! This is what I'm doing too :)

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    1. Yup yup. Plus, I'm cooking a bit more and reading two non-fiction books now, too. Helps to have the only fiction I'm currently reading be my first draft short story lol

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  8. Awesome post! Exposing yourself to great art can only make your own art greater!

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    1. Thanks! It's actually the cool part of the creative process, seeking out different mediums ;-)

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  9. Great post. Inspiration through art, in any shape or form, is the best way to revitalize your writing.

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  10. Yes, I'm always inspired my someone else's creative output: a book, a movie, a painting. We, writers, are all thieves. We steal ideas and make them our own.

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  11. I'd love to learn the Lindy Hop. I get inspired by other art, all the time! I'd love to see Hamilton. Write more about that show some time. So glad you got inspired and started something new. It was the spark you needed.

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    1. I wrote a post about going to see it, but I'm sure Hamiton will come up in other posts. One of my friends is really into Lindy Hop. I'm trying to get her to write a guest post for me.

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  12. I am Googling Lindy Hop because I am all about exercising my creative muscles. Hopping might be a real workout! I think this is the best advice a new writer can be given and a great reminder for those of us who may have forgotten. Keep moving forward.

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    1. A friend is super into Lindy Hop, and at her wedding, there was a swing dance where we were taught basics. I have no physical coordination at all, though.

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  13. Love the last bit! I totally agree with you. What's the point in writing every day if you're slowly dying on the inside? :-P I love nice, long walks in nature. Trees give me so much life and that new life gives me new ideas. We all have our ways :)

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    1. It's definitely a factor in creativity. Walking in nature is definitely refreshing!

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  14. I'm going to fill the creative well by reading Elizabeth Gilbert's instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, Big Magic. I've heard so many great things about it.
    Reading is relaxing, and I think that subconsciously, it keeps the muse on her toes...
    Good luck with the new story idea!

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    1. I only just heard about it from another IWSG post. I'm reading two biographies.

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  15. For me, days off are really important, but maybe that's because I write for a living. Sometimes I need a break.

    I agree that filling the creative well is important, though. Good luck with your new story! I hope it keeps working for you.

    Thanks so much for commenting on my blog this week. It was nice to "meet" you.

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    1. I really enjoyed your post!

      So far, the story seems to be working. It's more finding time to get back into it that's been the problem this week.

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  16. Great advice! I always feel inspired by reading, going to concerts or plays, exhibitions, etc.

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    1. Yup! Definitely. I always feel like my writing is stiff and uninspired when I'm not reading something.

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Thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Check back soon. I reply to all comments. Happy reading!