This past weekend, I had a conversation with a friend of mine from college, Travis (check out his creative Facebook page here). He’s one of my friends who is also passionate about writing, and we enjoy discussing our latest projects now and then. This time, he was telling me about a big project he wants to get back into, and we got to discussing different ways we can organize our longform writing while incorporating a ton of different ideas. I shared that I was going through a similar experience with my novel, Caspertown.
Ultimately, the conversation got me thinking about bringing a project all together. As much as we might love an idea when inspiration strikes, there are always gaps in how it fits into something bigger or how it develops over time. How do we make that incorporation and development seamless?
As creatives, our art is often central to who we are. It helps us to express what we believe in and the beauty that we see around us. It can be very easy to get lost in ideas we want to create from at times, especially with those pesky gaps. They can haunt us in all sorts of ways. I know when I’ve forgotten an idea or when I’m stumped on how to progress one, I tend to just sit there and stew in that mental block.
When we’re bogged down in our art, it can be easy to lend ourselves to obsessing. Our creative mind wanders in our day-to-day tasks, and the frustration that resonates from the situation with our art can really sour our mood. I’m happy to say there is a rather simple solution, though…
We need to live a little.
It’s a bit of a buzzword lately, but what does it mean to be present? In a few ways, it’s setting our phone down. It’s remaining focused on the people we’re spending time with. It’s doing our best at whichever task we have in front of us. There are so many benefits to being more present in the life we’re living. But the creative gifts of being present in our day-to-day lives are the authentic pieces that fill the gaps in the initial ideas.
Lately, I’ve restarted my novel, Caspertown, determined to create a workable draft. However, I was frustrated with how the beginning was progressing, and kept questioning the choices I was making. Was there too little dialogue? Should I start it later in the story? Was I giving background information naturally enough? I was stuck on these things for days, but then on a simple date night with my boyfriend, it clicked. I realized how I could really get my main character from Point A to Point B in a believable way because the inspiration came from real life.
By simply living and not obsessing over where to look for the piece to fill the gap, I stumbled across it in an organic way. We want our art to feel natural; we want it to fit into our lives and others’ lives without trying too hard. Just live and the art will come after in the most beautiful way. During car rides, a trip to grocery store, or visiting a loved one, you never know what may spark a memory or a concept. But don’t go looking or they will hide. Be present and the ideas will be, too.
The best art, and the art we’re most proud of in our own repertoires, doesn’t attempt to exist in a vacuum. It shows the ins and outs of life, splattered with shades of memories and dented with the impression of emotion. It was never meant to be a shiny and perfected artifact. How can you honor being present in your creative process, and how does that make your art more natural? When/where do your best ideas come to you? Let’s spark discussion in the comments, and in the spirit of my conversation with Travis, let us know if there’s a current creative project you’re working on! Thank you, always, for stopping by today and giving Word Oasis a piece of your time. See you soon!
Much Love, Quinn
Post Prompt: Create based on a setting inspired from a real-life place you’ve been to this week. Use the real-life details to spark your inspiration further.
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.