Monday, December 9, 2013

Creativity on Overdrive

Here's how I work. I write 2000 words a day, give or take a few. At some point during this process the idea for a new book pops into my head. That's where it stays, in utero, while I first write then edit and edit and edit the work in progress.

That's the, to use a phrase I find slightly pretentious, artistic process. At least that's what it's been until this year.

Don't get me wrong, I've been creating my 2k a day. The writing piece is working as it has in the past, but what's not working, or I should say is working on overdrive, is the bun in the oven piece.

Before I started the work in progress, I had to make a choice between this book and another book I wanted to write. Which was fine, I told myself, because I'll just write the next one, next year.

It can wait.
Great!
Perfect!!
It'll be very tender and juicy after a year of brain marination.

And then I had another idea.

A story that woke me up in the strange daze of pre-creativity that can take over an entire day. I wandered around my house with the dawning realization that THIS, this was the story that needed to be written.

It's beautiful, sad, but I think, an ultimately uplifting modern love story. I wrote the first page. Trapped my initial ideas on my laptop and thought, okay, maybe that's next years book.

Which was my working plan until this morning when another idea struck, fully formed, characters, plot, setting, title, everything. It woke me up too (like someone's been shooting my brain full of Pitocin) and I stayed in bed imagining all the details of this new book until the alarm went off.

So basically, I have triplets in utero. And like any expectant parent of three, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

They ALL want my attention.

As any parent discovers, it's all about balance. But each idea feels more needy than the next. For the moment, I'm locking my book babies in virtual space and ignoring their clamoring (one of the many ways parenting books differs from parenting children). Hopefully, they'll be patient and wait until I'm ready to deal with them.

What about you? How do you manage ideas that catch you off guard?

13 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wish multiple ideas would hit me at once. Enjoy!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I have multiple ideas at the moment, too. I don't know which one to focus on, so I have bits and pieces done on each. It's not good. :-P I really need to pick one and buckle down. So yeah, I know the feeling. :)

Barbara Watson said...

Like you, I usually work on one project at a time. But, also like you, I have another (but not two other) :-) project beckoning me. And I'm torn about what to be working on.

ilima said...

If I can't concentrate on the current project, I'll allow myself to write a few page or a scene from the shiny new idea. For the most part, it gets it out of my system temporarily and I can focus on work again.

Julie Flanders said...

I haven't had this happen but I'm sure you will be able to get them all under control and manageable. And the rest of us will be able to read lots of great books from you in the years ahead! :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I didn't used to have this problem, but it's also been an issue for me. Good luck deciding which baby to work on.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Alex.

Rachel, such a feeling of disconnect, right!

Barbara, trying very hard to be disciplined.

Ilima, totally agree. Writing a quick sketch helps me put it on paper and assures me it will be still there when I come back to it.

Aww, Julie. Such a nice thing to say!

Donna, thanks! I think I know which way I'm headed, but who knows, the wind could shift and blow me in another direction.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'll get multiple ideas at once. I just have to choose the one for which I have the most passion.

Joanne Noragon said...

Well, I only write little stories for my blog, and they can easily die when I do. But things do come to me all the time. If I'm in the car I grab the pen and the notebook. I can write a couple of words with my eyes on the road. If the idea comes while I'm writing something else, I put it on my desk calendar. If it comes in the middle of the night (the best ideas of all!), too bad. Gone by the time the alarm rings.

Ella said...

This is how my artistic process works. They tickle me and I write them down. I wait to see which one cries the loudest. If the idea is strong I go with it, but I have been know to change my mind. Any chance these three could be related in some form?! A trilogy...generations of thoughts revealed? Keep listening and see which one connects with you the most! How exciting~

Emily R. King said...

I tend to let them simmer a bit, because I feel ideas that strong can only get better with time.

Good for you for having lots of ideas. That's a great writerly problem to have. :)

E. Arroyo said...

I have so many too. I usually try to see if they can connect in some way. Taking this from that so they don't all feel super ignored. =)

Tammy Theriault said...

oh my gosh those pics were adorable! I still have a story on the back burner and I actually forgot about it completely till someone brought it up. oops. just don't pull what I did and forget about them!