Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Ebb & Flow of Creativity

For the past two weeks I've been writing new ghost stories for Ghost Stories LIVE! I ended up writing five short stories for the event, and then digging out three older stories from the file cabinet for a total of 8 potential stories for the event last night, from which I would pick one. I narrowed it down to five that I took with me. I selected one, and then while Russell was reading Mortmain, a classic ghost story, I agonized over my choice because it was an older one, set in an Irish cemetery in October. I debated all the while Russell was reading. Then he announced that I would be reading a new ghost story and introduced me.

On the way from the front window where I'd been sitting during his reading to the rear of the story by the tree in the children's area where I'd left a pile of stories, and where Kelly was sitting on a toadstool awaiting her cue to read her story, I changed my mind and decided to go with the first of the five stories I'd written for the event- the one that had caused me all the anxiety due to the main character being trapped in a mine (I have terrible claustrophobia)- and just suck it up.

So I read The Mother Lode- and it was well-received. I made it through reading it aloud without having an anxiety attack (yeah!).

Kelly read her story, then Kathy Palmer told a true story.

Next Ghost Stories LIVE! will be Ghost Stories 'round the Camp Fire in July.  I'm already thinking about possible stories to write for this event, and I'm sure there are some classic campfire ghost stories to resurrect for this event!

I've also been thinking about the clock maker story- I want to start with the ending first and then go back to the beginning with this one, but that might not work as well as I'm hoping it would. All the while I've been writing the ghost stories, I've also been thinking about this new novel and how I want it to read...when normally, I just jump into a novel and just write off the top of my head. I don't know where this idea that I need to plot and plan has come from. I've never written that way. Maybe it's from listening to other writers and their struggles to plot and layout a novel. I don't really know.

I'm actually at a place where I am not feeling very creative. This occasionally happens. It's sort of like a circadian rhythm this ebb and flow of creativity. I just went through a burst of writing five stories, one a mere three hours before the event started...and today I feel no spark- like the battery is dead. I know it's not...random thoughts are floating around in my brain, but nothing is coalescing, coming together.

From here it looks like a long climb back up the ladder to the thought bubbles high overhead, but in reality all it takes is buoyancy of mind, no actual effort to climb. I'll bounce back. I always have. It could just be exhaustion after doing so much since the beginning of the year- a dormant period. A time of rest and renewal.

I think most writers go through these cycles of productivity and then a sense of standing at the edge of a desert- almost overwhelmed by having to take that first step into the hot sand and cross that barren expanse to the next oasis of creativity- not really sure where it lies...the desert full of mirages like false promises.

I'm not quite ready to take the first step on a new journey, but I feel fairly confident that I'm mentally collecting the supplies I need to venture, I'm just kicking back and relaxing.

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