Saturday, November 13, 2010

Creativity on Demand

Some people are so demanding.

Some people demand I update my blog daily. And if I don't, they call me and leave threatening messages. Or write aggressive notes on my Facebook wall. Or leave flaming bags of poop on my front doorstep.

OK, that last one was a lie.

Still, you can't force a creative mind, right? I need to be inspired to write. One can't just expect my type of genius to be "on" all the time. First I have to wait for the kids to do something clever slash crazy slash annoying. Then I need some kind of original thought which will give that thing my own funny spin. Then I need to have time to sit down and write about it. And find the perfect picture on Google images to go with it. And edit it, and read it over and over, and change words here and there and consider posting a link on Facebook, or e-mailing demanding people and saying, "There! Are you happy now?"

It takes time. It can't be rushed. It can't be demanded.

Right?

Wrong!

One of my favorite authors, Cinda Williams Chima, has this quote on her website:

"Write every day. It is easier to keep a patient on life support than to resurrect the dead." Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

I have read in many writing books (OK, the one writing book* I read) and heard from many writer's workshops (OK, the one workshop I attended), that this is true, true, true. You need to write everyday and not wait for inspiration to hit. Inspiration is far more likely to hit if you have a prepared receptacle in which to receive it. (That receptacle would be me, the prepared writer!)

Last month when I participated in the Game On! diet with friends, I put this theory to the test. My good habit goal was to write for 2 hours every day. I quickly realized that this was a big goal and worked hard to accomplish it so I didn't lose points for my team. I wished I'd made the goal one hour a day. But I didn't. I needed to write. About something. Anything.

And I did.

I wrote on my blog every day, (which is why some people got demanding when I stopped the daily updates). I worked on a young adult novel that's been sitting on my computer for a year and a middle grade novel that's been sitting on a 3 and a half inch disk for 3 years. I wrote articles and submitted them to magazines I'd never submitted to before. I didn't care if they published what I wrote; I just had to write to get my points.

And that "just do it" attitude was eye opening. I was writing more and writing better. Ideas were coming more freely to me. And my inner critic--the one who tells me I have no business sending in articles to real magazines--was summarily dismissed. (I attacked him like a ninja: it was quick, painless, and he never saw it coming!)

I am sorry to say that I have not kept up on my goal after finishing the Game On! diet. I need to get that daily writing goal back and keep up the momentum. Because yesterday, after Ethan brought in the mail and opened it, he said, "Mom, someone wants to publish something you wrote."

I grabbed the letter out of his hands from the editors of The New Era magazine. Something I wrote, to fulfill my quota and earn my diet points, and that I submitted because I didn't care that I had no business doing it, had been accepted for possible publication.

Possible. Publication.

YES!

Does this mean I'm going to update my blog every day? Probably not.

But will I write every day? I think I have to.

Writer Peter DeVries said, "I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9am."

*I just remembered. I also read this book, which then necessitated the reading of this one.

4 comments:

Angela Hunter said...

you should have posted this exact blog about 3 weeks ago when I was badgering you relentlessly. Your freakishly smart sister was telling you this all along and it took reading it in a book to believe it?? Come on, just listen to me! Now, go make me some breakfast.

Afton said...

I read the book a long time ago, but I just got that letter yesterday.

Emily Laing said...

Seriously! I am so proud of you! They have a contest going with Segullah right now too. You should submit something. Your a great writer. I know that the more I do anything, the better I get. Even if I post a blog 3 minutes before the end of the night...at least I did it, and it will get better and better. I am excited to read it...possibly...

I-Shüan Warr said...

Yay! That's so great and I can't wait to read it! You'll even have an illustrator now!

You really are an awesome writer. Why do you doubt yourself? I'm glad your inner ninja kicked that attitude out.

Congratulations! Will they tell you when it'll come out?