Lessons from the creative process

It’s now been a week since starting this crazy novel-writing project, and already I feel like I’m learning so much. I know I’m probably nuts for blogging mid-madness (wow, that’s a lot of insanity talk for two sentences) but I feel like I had to get these nuggets out before my characters stole and buried them in an undisclosed location.

  1. Stories are puzzles that come together slowly. This idea has been revolutionary. After days of writing scene after scene without a completely clear idea on where the story was going, I started to panic. How will these scenes connect to each other? Where is my story going exactly? Am I just creating a huge mess that I won’t be able to clean up later?? I sent out an emergency tweet, confessing my panic to the NaNoWriMo Twitter powers-that-be, and got a prompt response: “Wait ’til all the scenes are written. I think of stories as a puzzle, the scenes the pieces. At the end, assemble!” I breathed a sigh of relief. I guess I don’t have to have it all figured out yet!  I’m looking forward to being pleasantly surprised by the way the pieces fit together.
  2. Feedback required. But not too much. After several days, my story and characters decided to start banging their fists against the inside of my skull. Translation: I quickly found I needed to get the story out of my head. I shared my process with a select few – 5 to be exact – and have benefited from their questions about the characters and story. It’s helped me to see the story from different perspectives and consider different possibilities. However, too many more people involved would become burdensome. Find the right people and use them well. Yes, you must use people for their brains. Don’t worry, all 5 of you will be mentioned in the special acknowledgements of my novel if when it’s published. Fair?
  3. Chocolate can work miracles. That’s it. Eat lots of it.
  4. Make it fun! I’m following a couple NaNoWriMo Twitter handles, one of which offers “Word Sprints” throughout the day, every day. After every 10-30 minute “sprint” everyone tweets back their word count and sometimes shares a funny line they just wrote. This is one of those times I’m loving social media! Writing and other creative pursuits can be super hard (when it’s not a blast), so it’s good to have something that keeps it enjoyable and exciting. And bonus, I’m now interacting with two legit authors I met doing the sprints. We’ve been regularly motivating each other to write!
  5. Just do it. When it comes down to it, I’m learning that there is no way around the grunt factor of creating. The ideas and words don’t just magically plop into my head (well, not usually anyway). If I waited until I had the perfect idea or until my story made total sense to me, I would probably never write another word. I’m learning that sometimes you just need to get your butt in the chair, and do the work, even when your output feels less than stellar.

5 thoughts on “Lessons from the creative process

  1. betsydecruz November 11, 2014 / 9:44 pm

    Wow! You’re learning a lot. That’s great that you’re connected with others on social media. I especially like #3 and #5. I think these could help me a lot. Not doing #3 might be what’s wrong with me???? 🙂

    • ingridclaire November 11, 2014 / 11:09 pm

      definitely…just eat more chocolate and it will all be ok…#5 is my fav too. 🙂

  2. Denise LaChance November 24, 2014 / 8:38 am

    Go, Ingrid! I am impressed that you are writing; that’s exciting news. Happy Thanksgiving! Regards, Denise

  3. Michael Stalcup (@stalcupojoy) October 1, 2017 / 1:48 am

    So, I’m a few years late here but… how did this go? Is there an Ingrid Claire novel kickin’ around somewhere that I don’t know about?

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