Creativity is no simple thing.
Though often depicted in movies as instantaneous and transparent, creativity is, in reality, quite the opposite. Maintaining good creative is HARD work. Like, sit down, focus, yell madly, and bash your head off the keyboard hard. There are days when my brain is so empty you could fill it with pingpong balls.
I often do.
Though it’s also true that sometimes the very best of ideas come when you’re not expecting it, consistent creative, author-required creative, is damned hard work. You’ve got to wrestle with your own mind for days at a time, and not only can it get frightfully boring, but it… well it…
*Looks out over the calm yet mortified sea, sips long and carefully a whiskey, shudders*
…It does things to you.
In an attempt to prevent insanity, I’ve taken to talking to a volleyball. Yes, he’s actually right here next to me in my office. You wouldn't believe the psychological benefits.
He doesn't like you.
The truth is I’ve yet to actually let myself reach that severe a level of insanity, though I assure you I am well on my way. Until then, I’d like to talk about how to stay creative.
Because as I said, and (partially) joked about before, it really is no simple thing.
Though rejoice my friends, for there is an answer.
One so simple, it’s strange we didn't see it before.
Surprising right? Truth is you really can’t have enough of the stuff. The ideas just keep coming and coming…
No, dammit, no, for the love of god, it’s not cocaine.
Writing has done some pretty weird things to me, but I’m fairly certain cocaine would do weirder still. Please, if you know what’s good for you, turn away now and don't look back.
Though do pay close attention to this:
If you’re still reading you’re a fool, but I love you for it.
I’m going to state it a third time, because you were probably distracted by the mild folly up above.
Creative is rather difficult to find time and time again.
And the unfortunate truth is that it’s been given a bad rap. Too many dismiss or don't understand how difficult it can be to sit down day after day and pump out new original ideas. They think it’s simply a matter of waiting for the ‘inner artist’ to come. You know, reaching deep down for that golden story inside.
I can almost hear the writers out there smashing their heads off their keyboards now, howling to the moon in protest.
No, creative is no waiting game.
If a game at all, it would be a game straight from the Saw movies.
Perhaps worse, though certainly with more booze.
As dark as it seems, fear not my friends, for there are ways out of the creative-less abyss.
And no, they do not involve narcotics.
Well, most of them anyway.
I urge you not to cringe at both the annoyance and overall burdened disappointment in the following sentence, though it is (besides, of course, narcotics) the only foolproof way to find good creative.
Believe me, I know the sinking feeling when the solution to a problem is not simply a single step remedy. It’s like those middle school inspirational speeches we were all forced to sit through.
“You want to do good in school?”
“You want to be successful?”
“Do you want to know how?”
“But…is there like another option, or…?”
But persistence really is the answer.
I can vividly remember the single best piece of writing advice I’ve ever been given, and I’m going to bestow it on all you lovelies so you can go forth and multiply.
So you can go forth and write.
Treat writing as though it were your career.
Rather deceivingly simple, no?
Yes, do write when the feeling strikes, and yes do search for inspiration elsewhere, but do all that on top of your consistent writing. Make a mark for yourself, and hit that mark everyday. It’s the only way your work is EVER going to be finished. 100, 200, 500, 1000 words, whatever, just reach that everyday.
And that my friends, is A LOT harder than it sounds. Like, cow-tipping hard (see The Best Kinds Of Ideas). In my mind, sticking to a schedule like that is what separates the wannabes from the die-hards. To sit down, put the time in, and chip away at that block of literary stone until something so beautiful reveals itself you think yourself the next Hemingway.
Until of course you re-read the first page and realize you’ve just birthed an absolute monster. A story so ugly you're vaguely surprised it hasn't yet croaked at you with an appalling voice to burn it alive.
A story with so many backwards bending limbs that it could have come straight from the shining…
Ah, you get the point.
And fact is, that’s normal.
The mounds of crap that we have to wade through (gross) before finding something good, drowns those that can’t hold their breath long enough.
*Turns. Looks out different window. Slowly finishes whiskey. Shudders in memory.*
Man, I really hate these metaphors.
But the point stands. Treating your writing as though it were your job is the very method of thinking that ensures you eventually finish piece after piece, and one glorious day, write something worth sharing.
Because we all reach that point.
We do. With enough time, thought and dedication, we all reach the day where our writing goes from that horrible puddle that wants to die, to something that doesn't want to die as much.
And so on so forth.
It’s no easy task to take a hammer to those stories you spent so long carving, but being able to say goodbye, and move forward, is what makes real writers.
And perhaps there comes a day when finally you peek through closed eyes, and see not something trembling meekly with pain, but see a story that holds its own, smiling widely.
So then, how to make sure the creative wells you draw from stay full?
Well, pardon my French, but sit your ass down, scribble a few hieroglyphics on the daily, and don't throw up at what you find too often. Good creative is there, you just need to reach it.
And it can be a long road, sure, but it’s often an interesting one.
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