Every morning, when I sit down to write this blog post, I have to come up with another idea, find answers to my questions about it, and create something I hope has a little interest for you. When put in such obligatory terms, this is a daunting task indeed.
Generating story or article ideas can and should be fun. All those who “give” you writing prompts in books and magazines are, to me, taking away a good deal of the creative fun that writing is about. You don’t have to face a blank page ever, but you’re left with the job of fleshing out somebody else’s ideas. Sometimes this works well, but try to have your own game of ideation too.
Then the trick becomes capturing your ideas, so they are with you when you need them. Keeping notebooks works, so does having a box or drawer of ideas. In their book, Creative Writing, Forms and Techniques, Lavonne Mueller and Jerry D. Reynolds spend the first chapter exploring the various ways to create a journal (your collecting spot for interesting tid-bits of life), the end point being that you are the only person who can tell you the best way to keep it. The book is a good prompt for taking yourself as a writer seriously and has a multitude of ideas for things to capture in your prompt box, book or envelope.
When I wrote about my Collections notebook, Letizia commented that she keeps a notebook in each of the main rooms of her home, so that when an idea hits, she’s ready to jot it down. Now, there’s a great idea too.
Now for the big question …
How do I get from collecting a bunch of miscellany to getting things down on paper in a publishable format? Hmmm…
I don’t have all the answers for that because again, like with the journaling, every writer is unique. I can only tell you what seems to work for me.
Each morning I rise as early as I can, which is usually at about five or five-thirty. I spend about one half hour to forty-five minutes on artwork. The music plays, the lights are bright and warm, the pets know not to bug me and I sketch or paint (or bead my ballroom dance dress).
Then, when I get to my writing session at six o’clock–and yes, I fully believe in the make-a-regular-writing-time-commitment–I set a timer for five minutes and type the questions, article ideas and small bits of character or story thoughts that pop into my head. Luckily, there is usually a scrap of a thought that pushes its way to my consciousness and after my five-minute warm up, I’m ready to jump into this blogging project.
Throughout the day, when I have a need for writing a portion of my novel, edit a piece for a client or do whatever other creative project is on my task list, I find I’m already half-way into the “zone” and I can be more productive.
How about you? How do you rev your creative writing engine each day?