Sunday, February 7, 2016

Guest Post: Keeping the Creative Flow

Hey guys! How are those romance stories coming? In case you're a little stuck (or even if you're not), here's a wonderful guest post by my friend Grace Weiser. Enjoy!

Keeping the Creative Flow

I have a friend who is an amazing artist.  She can draw people that look like photographs, right out of her head.  One of the ways she stays that way is because she is constantly doodling.  She draws on her homework, she draws in multiple sketchbooks, and she draws on pieces of paper.  She may not be drawing her best pictures ever, but she’s drawing.  

The same goes for writing.  I even use the same terms.  I don’t always write on my homework (that’s not a firm statement, though.  my teachers have gotten bits of stories on the backs of tests and quizzes), but I have notebooks scattered in various places, and I’m usually writing.  Unless I’m on Pinterest.  Or hiding in my room trying to avoid responsibilities.  

There are a lot of things that people say to me when I tell them that constant writing helps them improve.  Here are the three most common:
“What if I don’t like what I’m writing?”
“What if I don’t have time?”
“What if I can’t think of anything to write about?”

First of all, I believe that while you could be writing the worst thing ever, you are writing, which is more important.  I don’t plan on re-reading most of my “sketches”, and I certainly don’t plan on showing them to anyone unless I have a rare moment and write something glorious and life-changing.  The point is not to write well, it is simply to write.  Using your brain to come up with something and put it on paper is the entire point, even if the characters do nothing but make sandwiches and complain about life.  

Secondly, not having time is what mini notebooks were made for.  I keep one in my purse, and I have another that I carry around to random places.  You can get writing apps, and if all else fails, there are always napkins.  This takes us back to the first question.  Not only does your writing not have to be good, it can be so temporary that it is thrown away with the fast food container.  Heck, write the story on the fast food container.  Constantly writing does not mean sitting down with a large notebook or a laptop.  It means “sketching” in the waiting room, and “doodling” while you wait for food.  

Last of all comes the inspiration.  Trust me, it never comes easily.  Going back to the first question again, I mentioned that your characters could do nothing but make sandwiches.  Describing the process in detail is not a writing sin.  If you can take three pages (or one cardboard fries container) to describe the making of a grilled ham and cheese melt, more power to you.  Believe me, you don’t have to have an entire plot, and if you do, it can have more holes than Swiss cheese.  No one will kill you if the dumbest, cheesiest thing ever in existance happens ten times in your story, because, again, no one has to read it.  You can burn it, if it’s really that bad.  The most important thing is writing it down.

There is one last benefit to constant doodling, and that is the storing of ideas.  Have you ever thought of a potentially genius twist or event?  You tuck it away in the “I promise to remember” part of your brain, but when you sit down to write it, you find that it has sprouted wings and become a fleeting fancy.  If you are constantly doodling and sketching your ideas in the form of stupid (or occasionally very good) stories and scenes, you might have it to find later.  Unless of course you wrote it on that fast food container.  You don’t generally want to do that with momentous and career-changing ideas.  I’ve found that writing things down also helps me keep them in my head, unless I decide that because I have written it, I can proceed to forget it, which occasionally happens.  

All that to say this:  Keep writing.  Keep writing dumb things that will never be shown to the public or even your closest friend.  Keep writing pretty decent things that might show up later in a story, or that you can pull up for inspiration.  And most importantly, keep describing in detail the way to make a grilled ham and cheese melt.  

~Grace Weiser

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