My days are running together, here! Apologies to any morning visitors who didn’t have new material to read 🙂 Instead of blogging, I was harassing my mentee (Romance Divas mentor program) and whining to my mentor (same program) about different things. I’m working on craft with my mentee and philosophy with my mentor, so I’m all turned around in mental knots. It’s good for me…right? 😉
My mentor whine this morning was about inspired writing v. production writing. She’s been encouraging me to work on something longer, and she’s right – for career purposes I do need to try longer once in a while. “Longer” for me requires more planning, though, and as a pantser instead of a plotter, the planning sort of kills the inspiration in a project. The foundation I create, the story I outline, is still a good story (IMHO) but when I write on it, I don’t do it with heart. There’s no sinking in, no absorption, no creative…er, genius, for lack of a better word to describe my sub-genius “creative genius.” The real emotion comes out in stories I conceive of and figure out as I write, while the heat of imagination and inspiration are still fresh and steaming (…uh, like a pile of crap…which is how some of these “inspiration” projects turn out, I am not ashamed to admit – but when they work, oh baby do they work).
Anyway, so one of my first how-to books, way back at the tender age of 18 when a friend encouraged me to actually write something to submit somewhere, was a book by Jack Bickham (Apple Dumpling Gang, among other things). Bickham, like lots of other how-to book authors, stressed the importance of writing even when there’s no inspiration, of keeping a stock of ideas for just such an uninspired run of luck. I know our own AJ does this, keeps files of stuff she conceived of way back when, and digs into them when in the moment inspiration isn’t there, and even though I’ve known this is part of AJ’s writing method it didn’t click for me. I didn’t make the connection until literally four hours ago when I realized what Bickham meant. He wasn’t suggesting I screw inspiration and never let it in, but that I turn to the stockpile when inspiration isn’t there…and then jump on inspiration when it comes.
It’s such a simple connection. 1+2=3. But I’m self-admittedly dense as…something dense…sometimes, and even though I’ve read the words, they didn’t add up for me. Suddenly it seems much more important that I keep files of my ideas when I get them – means even if inspiration isn’t there, I’ll still have stories to write.
Now, if I can just get past the whole “but I’m not inspiiiiired” whine, and put my newfound realization into practice as one of my regular “writer tools,” I bet I’d be a much more prolific writer!