I’ve been trying to balance out my creative and critical selves since taking that course with Caroline. Oh man, it is not easy. I had not realized how much hold my Critic had over my activities. My poor Creative just sort of whimpered in the corner until every once and a while a new idea so shiny would appear that Critic couldn’t ignore a possibly advantageous activity to distract from the road we were going down. So I’m trying to be better and indulge the Creative.
Writing out of order
I’m so bad at this though! I love linear writing only for the idea that stories should be told and heard in order. It doesn’t matter that I thought of the pulse-racing scenes first. It doesn’t matter that I’m dying to write that one conversation. I have to do the work to get there.
But what if I didn’t make myself wait for all that? What if I just…wrote those scenes?
To some this is the most “duh” of all questions asked. But to me, this has been an eye-opening progression. My creative self loves this. I get to go back and include foreshadowing, I get to have time to think over scenes I’m not ready to write. It’s working for me! I think.
I’ve done this since the very beginning. Songs for certain scenes, songs for certain characters, songs for certain feelings I want to portray. Every novel I write, or want to write, has a playlist in my music app. Some I keep just for me, and some I share with friends.
While it’s filled with old loves, this is the one I made in 2018 when I was working on The Arrangement:
Music to me is crucial to building the ideas and the vibes of the story. Once I start writing though, I can’t have lyrics. So I switch to something else.
Building vision boards
When I need info, a “mood,” or just a visual idea of something, I turn to Pinterest or a stock image website. Having something to spark an idea in my brain works wonders. Often my brain starts spinning the story right away. Other times I’m left scrolling for an hour and have to pry myself away. It’s a delicate balance, as with any social media.
Writing with friends
A group of friends and I have started writing once a week together over a video chat. It gives me a set time and a bit of accountability. I’m giving myself the freedom to write anything, not just my one project, an attempt to indulge. There’s been only one day in the short time we’ve been doing this that I haven’t felt like working on Magick Forest. I’ve already finished two chapters this way which is super exciting!
Writing with friends is one of the things my Creative Self absolutely loves, since it’s from my childhood experiences with creativity. So this new activity makes me immensely happy! Even if it is us sitting in silence most of the time. I’m so grateful to them for doing this with me and I hope it’s getting them further in their projects too.
I’m still working on getting an individual “routine” back. But I’m very happy that my ideas are flowing again. It feels like the story is coming back to me and I’m feeling excited to get back into the world.
What do you do to feed your creative self before writing? What other ways should I try?