The Untimeliness of Creativity

In the midst of all this moving business and unending amount of boxes to unpack, my creative brain decided to kick things into high gear. Apparently I didn’t have enough on my plate for my mind to be satisfied. At 11:30 last night, just crawling into bed completely exhausted with a good book to start reading, I began to have the newborn tingling of an idea for my next writing project. The last thing I wanted to do was get up to grab a pen. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about such late-night brainstorming sessions, it’s that I definitely won’t remember everything the next morning and no matter how painful it is, I simply must get up and write everything down.

It’s really only been a few weeks since I stopped writing and revising the manuscript that is now being considered by publishers nationwide, but that already seems like too much time between active writing projects. It does feel good to at least write something for the blog here every day or so, but it’s just not quite the same. I’ve always feared that if I take too much of a break between projects, my creative juices will dry up and I’ll never write another word as long as I live. Perhaps this is a bit extreme, but all of my writing colleagues and mentors have ingrained in me the notion that a writer must write every single day, and must have several different honey pots brewing at any given time.

So for the last month, I’ve been trying to decide what kind of project I’d like to tackle next. Though my sad little thesis collection of poetry is still simmering on the back burner at low heat waiting for a good stir and a few new ingredients, I think it would be a less wise career decision to follow my memoir up with a tiny collection of poetry that at best, 1,200 people would read if published. The poetry will always be my first love, but let’s face it—I won’t be making myself rich or famous in that genre. Not that I write for the fame or money, or even expect either of those things, but I need enough success to keep on writing. And in order to keep on writing until the day I die, I need to plan and be organized. While I’d love to try a novel in verse, I fear that for now, I should leave that sort of thing to my writing partner, Kelly Davio. Her own novel in verse will be brilliant and original, and I’d like to let it exist alone out there in the market for a while.

Full-length fiction has always been my biggest fear, and so of course I won’t consider myself a “real writer” (whatever that means) until I’ve attempted one. I’ve had a few ideas for novels over the years, but they all seemed either too flat or too lofty, to attempt. Until last night at 11:30. I got my ass out from under the covers and threw a blanket around my shoulders, muttering the same few lines over and over so they wouldn’t slip away. The story starts with a girl living in the attic, the story starts with a girl living in the attic.

I padded into my sparkling new office, which seems to be positively crying out for someone to spend thousands of hours inside, toiling over something of the literary and revolutionary variety. I scribbled down the skeleton outline of this book idea under the light of a desk lamp, the rest of the room dark and soft all around me. When I lifted my head again 40 minutes later, I’d filled several pages with my messy notes and had enough of an idea to at least get myself excited. Then I slid myself back into position in bed, shut out the light and smiled.  But last night I dreamt about the girl who I hope will be occupying my brain for the next several years. For now she is still vague and blurry, without a face and without a name. I can’t wait to shape her up.

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One thought on “The Untimeliness of Creativity

  1. Yeah, the best ideas always seem to come when the chaos of the day is in remission, whether that’s 11 at night or 5 in the morning. Just another reason to be glad you’re a writer.

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