Novel · Writing

The Conundrum of Creativity

I told myself the weekend would be for writing.  I told myself I’d find some time to actually put more than a couple hundred words on the page.  And, well, I certainly wish it was easy as declaring it so.  I wish this nurse knew what the heck a weekend is.  When you work nights, and get off of working three in a row, it can be a struggle to balance the free time…because I mostly just want to sleep, and my immediate waking hours are spent eating.

*sigh* anyway, my writing over the weekend was mostly in stolen moments.  But today I have a couple hours free for writing, and afterward I’ll do more research (meaning: reading and watching television, ha!).

If you Google “how to be a writer” (which, I must admit, I’ve done more times that I can count…), it comes up with lists and lists of tips.  Consistently, one such tip is to commit to writing each day.  Treat writing like a day job.  Set aside a space and time for writing.  That sounds easy enough!  And, that’s what I’ve based my writing rules for this project around (writing, a minimum, five minutes per day).

I do view writing as a day job in theory, but I also severely romanticize the idea of writing a novel.  This creates quite a conundrum in my head.  How am I supposed to sit down and dutifully write each day, inspired or not?  This very question is what has stopped me from expressing these characters on page, the characters that live and breathe and have a whole life in my mind.  The muse has come by, the idea has flourished, but the words are still inside.

The struggle that I’ve found in writing this novel in the past is that my momentum ebbs and flows.  That’s the conundrum of creativity, I keep telling myself.  Creativity is not always a present force.  It’s not always whispered plot points or the next line of dialogue.  And why should I expect it to be so?  Just as almost anything worth it’s salt requires commitment, so to does writing a novel.  A dull, time consuming, not very romantic commitment.

Another tip on such lists is that the beautiful writing comes in the revision process.  Some writers state that they’ve completely re-written a novel a number of times before it’s in it’s finalized state.  And I’m holding this tip close, because as I dutifully fulfill my commitment each day to this novel, I can’t help but groan in my heart about how shitty it is.  I feel like every other word is “said” and I can’t connect scene to scene in any inspiring way.

I felt the same way when I finished my NaNoWriMo novel in 2010.  Make no mistake, that novel was a piece of shit.  The idea was interesting, and I wrote 50,000+ words about it, but damn, when I re-read it that one time, I groaned the whole way through.  And I haven’t touched it since.  But, the encouraging point here is that, shitty or not, I wrote the whole damn thing.  And that’s really all I’m aiming for here.  Who knows what is going to happen when this story is finished.

Right now, it’s just getting the words on paper.  Right now, I need to continue to show up.  Later, it’ll be a pretty and nice story.

(I can already tell y’all I’ll be writing so much more on this idea as the writing progresses.  So stick with me!  And maybe groan along with me as this thing unfolds.)

What do you do when your creativity feels stagnant?  How do you talk yourself around, or into, the mundane side of creation?  Let me know in the comments.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

#tarotthursdaythree · Tarot

Tarot Thursday Three: February 9, 2017

On Julia’s post for today, she talks about how this practice has contributed to more blogging overall, and I totally agree.  Thank you so much, Julia, for creating this practice!  I love blogging but can struggle with ideas/posts.  This exercise keeps blogging in the front of my mind, so it’s easier for me to think of other posts through the week.

So, here’s another Thursday, another #tarotthursdaythree…. Here you go!

1.  Reversals or nah?

I do not shuffle to include reversals, no.  I know some people have very intricate shuffling practices in order to incorporate reversals (or: throw all the cards on the desk and mix ’em up, a suggestion from Julia, ha!), but I do not.  I take a more hands-off approach to reversals, as if if a card ends up reversed, it must have happened somewhere along the way and I keep it that way.

If I turn up a card that is reversed, I read it reversed.

Do I actively try to incorporate reversals into my readings?  No.

When I go to reset my decks (putting them all back in order), I right all the reversals.

So….kinda?

2.  If you could go back in time and give your novice self one piece of wisdom to fast track your tarot learning, what would it be?

I really love Julia’s suggestion of making an Excel little white book (LWB) cataloguing all 78 cards with my own keywords.  I haven’t done anything like that, mostly because when I tried to systematically learn tarot in that way, I got really bogged down in the technicalities and ended up writing too much for each card and losing steam really quickly.  Thus, I think the Excel LWB is a brilliant, low pressure project.  And I think I’m in a good place now to start such a project.  I just signed up for Little Red Tarot’s tarot course, so once I actually start, I’ll use Julia’s idea!

I guess I wouldn’t really change my learning experience exactly because I think the way I learned tarot basically would be the only way I could get into it.  I learned early on that if this was a hobby that I wanted to enjoy long term, there would be no “fast tracking” for me personally.  Too much deep study too quickly was going to kill the mystique and enjoyment of tarot for me.  What I did to learn, mostly, was to pull at least a card a day (or near to each day), and journal about it.  It also helps me to compare cards across decks, and, actually, that would be something that I’d tell myself to include more to help me learn.

3.  What is your go-to spread?

I like to pull one tarot and one oracle card to get a quick picture for the day/question.  I love the 4 card spread (1 card for the message, 3 cards as how to explore that message), which I think gives a nice, well-rounded snapshot of the situation without creating specific questions/definitions for each position.  I love all of the mind-body-spirit and within-without-advice three card spreads.  But, if I had to pick, I’d say the one tarot and one oracle card is my basic go-to, even if it’s not really a spread.  I don’t like to do very large spreads very often, which is why I try to keep the spreads I make under 6 cards.

At the time of publishing, here’s another post that I’ve seen published — Julia.

Did you make a #tarotthursdaythree post?  If so, let me know in the comments.  If not, how would you answer the above questions?  Let me know in the comments!

Exploringly yours,
Alaina x