Creativity Time


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I have been very focused on my editing over the last few weeks and it is taking up most of my creative energy.

Recently when drafting a new story I enjoyed the creative freedom that creating something new brings with it. The new story itself is still pretty rough, with holes in the plot and a lot of work to get it to something good. But the drafting process has been a lot of fun.

It can be draining editing full time and so I have decided that I need some more creative play time.

A few ideas have bloomed lately and I’m playing with options for more stories, characters and some general unfocused scribbling. I love it and it’s not too much to draw me away from my serious editing but enough to give me a little breather.

Part of this distraction time has included reading how authors find ideas. Neil Gaiman would have to be my favourite:

‘I make them up …. Out of my head.’
People don’t like this answer. I don’t know why not. They look unhappy, as if I’m trying to slip a fast one past them. As if there’s a huge secret, and, for reasons of my own, I’m not telling them how it’s done.

Neil Gaiman

I fully believe this way of thinking, we all take a little something we see and twist it or add to it, to create something new, something us…

My daughter is a great starting point, she often comes up with weird pronunciations or cutesy names for her pets and these new words have sparked all sorts of ideas. The most recent of these names along with an image I saw on someone’s blog has inspired an idea for a short story.

The point behind this creative time is to relax and let the ideas come. Some ideas won’t go anywhere, some may start and falter and others may grow into something special. I’m willing to enjoy the process to find the ideas and see what happens.

Where do you find ideas?

Mid-Year Goal Check


Image courtesy of Pauline Eccles via Wikimedia Commons (originally published 2009)
Image courtesy of Pauline Eccles via Wikimedia Commons (originally published 2009)

As we approach the shortest day of the year (or the longest for those lucky folk experiencing warm weather) it is a reminder that the year is racing past. We might be at the half way mark, but are we half way to our goals for the year?

There is a lot I had on my list of goals for the year, but at the moment I’m trying to be a little less goal focused. Not because I don’t want to achieve but because I was killing myself with the guilt of not achieving, or meeting deadlines and plans and goals.

It might be time to revisit that list of goals: to check that the right path is being followed, they are your goals and not someone else’s, and not a list so long that it cannot possibly be achieved in a year.

My goals changed very early on this year as I decided this was the year to focus on making writing my life, not just writing around my life.

I have already reached one goal – to complete my Master of Arts (Creative Writing). It was hard work but worth every moment and I’ll be displaying my testamur prominently when it arrives.

I have refocused on my fantasy novel. I wanted to get the first draft of my next novel underway but I knew that it wouldn’t happen. It is no good starting the next one when I haven’t finished this one. I have been spending some time planning so it will be easier when I do start drafting.

I have created a website and started my blog, which is still a work in progress and I’m learning all the time. My initial plan was to blog once a week and there have been times when this was a bit difficult. After some reading and refocusing I have decided to try to write more frequently, so far increasing my posts to two a week.

I worry that I’m not reading enough but I’m reading more non-fiction this year. I’m certainly on my way to reaching my quota, just not by fiction. It was what I needed this year to help me on my way.

And I’m working hard at the gym, trying to eat well and slowly moving towards my goal weight. Like anything it is a matter of putting my all into it. That doesn’t mean all my time; I can’t be at the gym 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. But I can ensure I am fully focused when I am there. And I take that commitment into my writing, ensuring that when I sit down to write my writing has my full focus.

I recently sat at the kitchen island typing away knowing that there was a large, and very hairy, huntsman spider watching my every move from the pantry door behind me. As scared as I was I knew the writing was more important and focusing on that I forgot the spider was even there until someone else got up and found it. They then very kindly helped it outside for me. There was a time when that would have put me off completely and I would have gone back to bed. But knowing I can deal with such big distractions makes it easier to deal with the little ones.

In my review of my 2014 goals I haven’t tweaked that much.

Refocusing my goals has helped refocus me. I know I’m on the right path. I know what I will achieve this year and where that will lead me next year.

As the solstice approaches do you find yourself half way down the 2014 goal track? Or have you wandered from the path? Refocusing your goals might be just what you need to continue your journey.