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03 January 2015 @ 11:14 am
Snowflake Challenge 2015: Day Three  
Day 3

In your own space, talk about your creative process - from what inspires you to what motivates you to how you manage to break through blocks. Does your process change depending on the type of creating you're doing? Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Remember that we're talking about anything creative. Rec lists, running a challenge or a community. Pic spams, gif sets, fandom primers. Group re-reads and re-watches, with or without commentary or bad jokes. You get the idea. If you feel like you put creative energy into it, it counts.

I love that this is today's Challenge. I'm always fascinated by the process of writers and artists - how ideas are translated from thought to form, the steps that each creator takes. I'll be reading the replies to this post, to explore paths to creativity that I've never considered.

My process isn't one.I don't outline my stories (as is sometimes obvious when there are huge plot holes.) Even if I tried to plan them in advance, my muses are pushy and insistent creatures. No, no. We need to turn left at the next fork. My characters also make decisions which I am honor-bound to respect. If I planned for Character A to take a plane trip, Character B insists on going. Well, that's not the way I thought this part of the story would play out, but okay, Mrs. Pushy-B, get on the plane with A.

The kernels for my stories come from the most random places imaginable. I battle insomnia because I can't switch off my brain enough to sleep. When I am trying to quiet all the thoughts in my head, I think "What if...?" That leads me down the proverbial rabbit hole. "What if Character A was immortal? What would be the implications? How would that work? Are there others who are immortal? Do they keep it a secret?" That's what led me to write my H50 story The Amaranthines. It was great fun writing a world where some people (the Amaranthines) don't die and I'm considering turning it into an original novel. (I've started it but not gotten very far.)

Other times, I am struggling with something in RL and put the characters in a similar situation. Resolving their crisis/struggle helps bring me closure to mine, even if I can't directly deal with whatever it is I'm trying to put to rest.

Joining 1_million_words has been a boost to my writing. This community is comprised of the most supportive, lovely people imaginable. There are challenges and prompts and cheerleading, and positive energy abounds. I do have to be careful about saying I'll participate in some challenges because if the prompts don't spark my muses, I'll never finish the story. But 1_million_words is pressure free so not finishing is okay.

I've been keeping track of my writing the past few years (partially because of 1_million_words and partially out of curiosity) and discovered I don't/can't write in October. No words - none. And I have no idea why. I love October - the changing of the seasons, the anticipation of Halloween and the holidays that follow, the crispness in the air. My muses either love October too much to come out and provide me with words, or they hate it and go into hibernation. October doesn't have any negative connotations to me - no tragic anniversaries, no bad memories. Just no words.

When I am blocked (like in October) I just let it be. I don't write for a living and if I can't write, I don't. If I try to write when my muses are not available, it is a chore. We have enough chores in RL. Why make something that is supposed to be for fun something to dread? If I don't write in October, the sun will still rise and the moon will still shine.

As much as it pains me to admit it, I do feed on comments on my stories. The positive reinforcement I get when someone says "I really liked this story" makes me want to write MORE. When I post a story and there is silence afterwards, I'm sure it's because I totally suck and I should never write again and the FanFiction PoliceTM are at this very moment heading toward my house to take my computer and demand that I never write again. I'd like to believe I only write for myself. And that is partially true - I don't have any choice but to write (except, apparently, in October.) Before the advent of the internet, I wrote all the time anyway. With the internet, I write and post. Positive reinforcement makes me write more. No reinforcement makes me question my abilities. I wish it weren't true but it is. (Insecure much?)

If you've managed to get down this far, Kudos to you! I love exploring the creative process we all go through. The people who are not driven to write don't understand how we can do it. What they really fail to understand is that we can't not do it. To quote Lord Byron: If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad.
Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Music: dogs playing
From a little spark may burst a mighty flamedante_s_hell on January 3rd, 2015 05:01 pm (UTC)
I often use fic to work through RL issues. Sometimes, things happen and it is cathartic to put my characters in those situations because unlike my own situation, I can control the fictional one. So we're eye-to-eye on that one.

I, too, have trouble sleeping and instead of "counting sheep" I hurt character A just so that character B can comfort him. Lol!

It's great to hear about your writing process. It's amazing to me that as writers we have some of the same processes. My question to you is: Do you write better in the day? At night? Do writing sprints with others help or do you have to go it solo? Is there a soundtrack you like to listen to while you write? A favorite food or drink you need to get going?

Okay, so that's more than one question. :-) You don't have to answer if you don't wish to. I'm just curious.

Now I suppose I should go and do the Day 3 challenge myself.
Are 6 dogs too many?tkeylasunset on January 3rd, 2015 11:36 pm (UTC)
Writers do tend to much the same outlook or mindset, I think. Reading your response rang many familiar bells with me!

I tend to write best at night. I think I feel like I have "permission" to write during that time of day when other people would be watching TV. It's okay to write during "leisure time" but not other times? It makes no sense to me but that seems to be how it works.

I don't really have a writing group although I would like to have one - people I can go to to say "does this make sense?" "Am I on the right track?" My BFF used to do it for me, but she's moved on from fandom. That has left a huge hole in my writing life.

I don't have a particular soundtrack. I do tend to write better if there is music playing, or football on TV. But it isn't absolutely necessary.

Sometimes there are certain foods and drinks that will trigger an idea - hot chocolate makes me feel cozy so if I want to write a cozy story, it helps to drink it.

How about you? Are there foods or drinks that are your "go-to?"
From a little spark may burst a mighty flamedante_s_hell on January 4th, 2015 05:12 am (UTC)
I like to have the tv on, but on mute. It's actually behind me when I'm writing, but I like that I can turn and see something. Lol!

As for drinks, well, I like to have tea--hot or cold. Sometimes a bottle of water.

I actually don't have many rituals. I think I need to start one. Lol!

Also, I really like your idea of a writing group. I know that we sometimes write in different fandoms, but I think we could still help out with sounding boards, edits, and cheerleading. I'm kind of thinking we need a Writer's Comm. Just something small with a couple of us. Or, maybe on 1_million_words there could be something. Not sure. You have any thougts on this?
Umai Hoshifairyniamh on January 4th, 2015 01:41 am (UTC)
When I want to write, but I can't... I listen to my biowriting playlist. (Which works for me if I play it low and listen to http://www.rainymood.com/ (because rain... it helps relax me.) Also listening to rain while listening to sad songs... makes them sadder.

I rely on melatonin, benadryl, or valerian root to help me sleep. Otherwise I am up till 4 am and then wake up at 6 - 8 am.

1_million_words helped me the first year, but not so much last year. The challenges just were not as interesting IMO.

Most of my stories were original last year, which meant I got zero feedback and near zero hits. *shrugs* They still make me happy. I wrote them, they would have never existed if I had not written them. Yeah, that is how I got around my writing insecurities. I have told new writers (who were okay, but not really good.) to keep writing, keep improving, because if we do not let out the stories (even the crappy ones) we cannot grow as writers, we cannot see how far we have come, how we can improve.

I, like you and many writers, have to write. I have to get the ideas out, because I will wind up in the loony bin if I don't. I promise though, if I wind up there, I am taking everyone with me.

Anyhoo, you were the person who inspired me to grow as a writer. To branch out to a new fandom (Star Trek, at the time), to take leaps of faith, and even if you fall, get up and dust yourself off and try again. (I even have an email from you from 2011.) How do you like them apples? Without you, I would have grown stagnant and stopped writing. So cheer up and have more faith in yourself and in your writing. *hugs*