This week I'm not following Lena's prompt. *gasp faint* As she states merely a suggestion. So this week we're going to be talking about my creative process. If you've been around here for a while or you're here for the first time and you noticed the little word count widget you'll know I'm elbows deep in NaNoWriMo right now. Aka National Novel Writing Month. This is my 6th year of doing NaNo. I learn something every single time I do this insane 30 days and 30 nights of writing. This year I've been learning about my creative process. So here are the 10 things I've learned about my creative process so far.
1. I have to give myself permission to walk away. Things are written at 1 sentence at a time so to sit there and fret about not getting everything out all in one sitting is pointless. I need to walk away when that happens. Walk away and do something else. Whether it's workout, bake cookies, run an errand. I need to walk away or I'll just sit there and not write anything.
2. If I'm not having fun with it I'm not going to write it. So far there has been a fire, roller derby, a safe of questionable origins, a confession of undying love that goes unrequited and a chase seen involving what could or could not be cannibals.
3. Sometimes you just need to not write. Yesterday I wrote 36 words. Yup. My brain was tired. I was burnt out creatively. So I didn't write yesterday. I put in a few sentences but other than that I watched mindless TV, drank wine and did other things.
4. Sometimes I just have to let characters happen. I don't plan much with it comes to NaNo. I had a basic idea. A few plot points and one character in mind but other than that all the other characters just happened. The other day a taxi driver named Bruce showed up in my story. I needed to my character to learn some information about her new city. And ta-da along come Bruce the taxi driver. He dispensed all sorts of interesting and useful information.
5. I need to talk about the story. Okay, let me be more specific I need to talk about the story either with Johnathan or with other members of the NaNoWriMo community. The main reason being the lack of judgement and the desire of these people to help or know more. There are no weird looks, no uncertain statments of "okay" and no desire to tell me what they THINK I should be writing.
6. I write the most in the evenings. Maybe it's the cold glaring stare of Johnathan and threats to turn off the wifi. The quality is still up for debate.
7. Speaking of Quality. I've stopped caring at this stage in the game. Hemmingway said the first draft of anything is shit. So I've embraced the notion that most of what I'm writing is crap at this point and I'm tired of people acting like it's a bad thing. It's a first draft people. GET OVER YOURSELF. And the notion that you are at this moment writing the next bestseller (that isn't 50 shades of Grey). It's a first draft if all first drafts of stuff were amazing everyone would be doing this. So I am embracing the questionable quality because I know some where in among all the not so great stuff is some earth shattering stuff. Speaking of Hemmingway he also suggests you write drunk and edit sober. He's pretty much a genius.
8. I can't shut out the world and just write. I need there to be something going on around me. Whether its people watching at starbucks or the TV is on or John and I are listen to a podcast. This whole idea of going into a room closing the door putting on headphones and just writing doesn't work for me. I can't close the door on my office when I'm writing. I just can't. Maybe it because I'm an attention seeking youngest child or the fact that when I was little my brother told me if I closed the door to my room I would get kidnapped and no one would hear me scream (he seriously told me that) or because I don't like feeling I'm confined. Not sure but contrary to a lot of writers I know, I have to hear and/or be in the world around me to write.
9. Reward systems don't really work for me. Which I think will shock my parents considering I was very much the "VALIDATE ME" kind of kid. It's not uncommon in the NaNoWriMo universe for people to have word count based reward systems. I had one last year. When it comes to word count rewards just knowing I made it to a particular word count works for me. Now when it comes to actually getting to 50,000 words well...then there will be a reward for finishing. What it is I haven't decided yet.
10. I don't always have to write what I know. Maybe this ties in with if I'm not having fun I'm not writing it. Sometimes I just have to write what I like. If you focus on what you know you lose your steam in the details and worries of being accurate If you write what you like you don't get bogged down in the details and it being something you know becomes secondary. I like roller derby...ahem...I love roller derby. It's shown up in my novel already. Knowing it was secondary. Because I KNOW roller derby. Writing about it because I like it was WAY more awesome then writing it because I know it.