Tag Archives: Creative process

Another Hodge Podge

Beware Your Sacred Chaos

After I posted my Goals for Round 2 of the ROW80, I had intended to be a bit more prompt with my posts. Didn’t happen. I also really wanted to get involved this month in the ISWG ( I love the question of the month: When you’re working on a story, what inspires you? since inspiration is one of my beloved playgrounds). I also didn’t really want to miss another First Friday Photo signup post.

So this is a post of many things, a hodge-podge, if you will, though perhaps not in the Discordian sense as pictured on the right. Or… perhaps, it is in that vague sense of being and unbeing, of order and chaos.

First, a quick ROW80 update:

I’ve accomplished nothing in any of my stated goals unless typing in notes made for critiques and beta reads I’ve done for others counts toward my three pages a week in Goal #1 and all those handwritten notes count a new words for Goal #2. I did accomplish finishing a beta read, doing critiques for others in my local writing group (and submitting my own work to the same ), as well as maintaining the ROW80 blog.

It’s progress. Not the progress I’d intended, but real forward momentum at a point where I felt without energy or purpose. So a good thing.

ISWG post:

When working on a story, what inspires me?

Oh, the thinks I could think (to paraphrase Ted Giesel)… It’s rarely a situation of what inspires me but more of a “what doesn’t inspire a subplot or a new character or tangent in a story?” situation. Ideas and possibilities seem limitless (I truly never understood the people who guarded their ideas as if they were rare treasures that could be lost of stolen at any moment); the discipline and focus to put those ideas and inspirations into words that not only make some kind of logistical sense but also appeal to others is the challenge.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. A simple Google Search for “Is it harder to focus these days” brings up a multitude of responses that agree, “Yes, it is harder”.

Harder isn’t impossible, but it is… well, harder. And when too many things get hard, it’s easy to let things slide in favor of dealing with emergencies and basic necessities. I don’t know how many of us would actually count our writing (or other creative endeavors) as things we need to do more than manage to survive no matter how much we tell ourselves that these are priorities in our lives. (Once in my more ignorant youth, I thought I might tell my employers that writing was life and I had to prioritize it over the posted schedule… that word vomit from the original NaNos didn’t pay the rent nor serve up anything for the tummy. When my newborn wanted to be nursed, changed, held… the fact that I really needed to write and create live with the characters talking in my head didn’t matter to him in the least. Yep… The characters were told they needed to wait their turn.)

So again, harder isn’t impossible, but it does mean that inspiration might not be the thing that “inspires” me when working on a story.

If I wish to probe a bit closer, it’s possible to identify certain points where I seek out inspiring elements to get past blocks or to refine my focus (somewhat), I may use songs (I have a certain set that I overplay either to suit a mood or a perception of a character that I want to explore). Sometimes I go for a walk (I love to go to the beach or walk through woods… especially woods where I might find old stone walls and foundations of long abandoned buildings. Taking a moment to see what came before me and wonder what inspired those creators…. that is inspiring.

Which brings me to my last intention for this post….

Signup for the First Friday Photo

For the last few years I’ve played with this bloghop. I really would like it to become something regular (even if I’m a bit inconsistent myself). I call it the First Friday Photo because the posts should go live the first Friday of each month and they should include a photo. Anything else, such as explanations about the image or even other images, are to the poster’s preference. I tend to write detailed posts, but they aren’t required of anyone. I just love talking about my pictures.

So if you’d like to join me in sharing a bit of inspiration and a picture or two, please share your link at the blue froggie below (technically you can post the links to go live on Friday or before):

Getting Out…

A moment just watching….

Today, instead of moping… and to give both myself and Fluffle (poor kitty boy… I wrote a post about him and why we both need) a break, I took a drive down to Winterthur. Sunny, but there’s a cold breeze out on the hillside. Still, the scenery has been inspiring. Hopefully, some of the scenery will help inspire some creativity that doesn’t involve my cellphone camera.

Because of the Fluffle matter, my writing has been close to nil. I also haven’t been reaching my editing or beta reading goals (BIG apologies, You Know Who). I have managed to keep the ROW80 blog scheduled (though that was a close thing).

I think, in general, I’m doing quite well. While I’m not making a ton of forward momentum, I am still keeping up with things that would mess up other people if I let them slide. And… I am making a point to do some self-care when things are so, so crazy.

Crazy how? Well, tbh, none of it is extraordinary. There is just a lot of it. Some is a bit absurd, such as having to cut 4 mm pills in half to give Fluffle the correct does of one of his medications (of which there are six). We won’t discuss the success I’ve been having trying to get get him to actually take those 1/2 pills….

There’s also the long-distance event planning for Dad’s Celebration of Life service. And coordinating the trip north when my son has his Junior Formal the night before. (If you’re local and coming to the service, please don’t be offended if I seem a bit tired and out of it.)

There’s normal stuff too, of course. Normal cleaning, decluttering, yardwork, housework, car maintenance… All the stuff that won’t wait even when you wish it could.

Cranberry Lake

And there’s all those things I really want to get done: writing, drawing, reading…. the stuff that takes the stolen moment, needs at least a quieted spirit to reach its potential.

That stuff is where I’m most lacking in progress these days—the stuff that the ROW80 challenge is supposed to be about. Does this mean I’m failing at my goals?

Or…

….

I don’t know. I just know I am going to keep trying to find those moments of beauty and creative energy. They sustain me.

How are you doing?

(This post is part of the A Round of Words in 80 Days Writing Challenge. To learn more, to join, or to check-in on our other members, look here.)

Out of Focus

Cloisters, Bristol Cathedral (cred Marcus Mabee)

The above image came from my older post Dreams of the Dead where I was trying to explain, via images, what inspired me to become a writer and the type of person I am in general. Right now, however, its lack of focus is the primary reason I’m using it again. I know, at the time the photo was taken, I was staring about me in delight at the architecture of the Bristol Cathedral Cloister hall (the photo was taken near the Chapter House, in the darker passageway there).

Now I see the image differently, a sense of confusion and puzzlement, a need for direction…. At least the person I am now feels those things more than any sense of wonderment. I’d call it an existential crisis if I felt depressed. Truth is, though, I just feel lost and confused.

Though, supposedly that is another way some define the term….

I have to wonder if it isn’t because I am so lucky to have the time and space to spend thinking about such things. It seems like it sometimes is easier, at least emotionally, to be moving from one minor disaster to another without a chance to think about whether I’m on the right path or not. Without thinking about Long Range Plans…. or goals…. basically. Thinking sometimes is both a luxury and a curse.

And, or course, it’s a necessity to avoid those strings of minor disasters… well, to some degree.

I don’t know what comes next. I do know that I’m slowly reassessing what I really need to be doing. My goals I set for this ROW80/ROCs feel wrong wright now–too oriented toward an abstract “who I wanted to be” when I am no longer sure I can even be that person if I tried.

Have I made any progress on any of them? Yes. Though, really, I am finding myself pressing toward reading and and processing than any writing. This doesn’t seem to be the time for new things but more a time for reevaluating older things, fixing and finishing things… finding the unfollowed paths in long abandoned spaces.

It’s time to get my own house in order. I’m not sure what this means right now for the ROW80 as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel like I’m getting much done no matter how I look at things. Yet I look at my days and I am busy most of the time… but none of what I’m doing really seems to be matter much nor does it have a direction or purpose.

Maybe this is just a bit of a funk that I need to deal with. Some post-holiday blahs…. Stay tuned for further developments, I guess.