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: March 16, 2017

Another week, another….Friday?  Seems I’m in a pattern to miss #tarotthursdaythree on actual Thursdays…  But that’s ok, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so this is a holiday edition as well.  Enjoy!

1.  Classic deserted island scenario: You’re stranded for a year on an island, but can bring along one companion.  Who from the court family keeps you company?

Oh snap — reading other’s answers, the Fool kind of popped in to my mind.  Like, he has this wild, free, careless energy that would keep me motivated and entertained (and, intermittently, completely annoyed) during our year of exile.  BUT then I read the question again and it said court family *duh*.  Hmm.  Who makes a good friend to the Queen of Swords (me)?  The most similar energy, I believe, to the Fool in the court is the Page of Wands.  So now I’m thinking about Lost; have you seen the show?  It was the first TV show that I was totally obsessed with in high school and college.  It’s about an airplane that goes down on an island and the survivor’s existence there.  Of course, that’s not all it’s about but that’s a decent one sentence summary.  Kate, similar to the Queen of Swords, is the character that I identify with, and she has two men that keep her entertained (heh) and fuel her will to survive.  One, Jack, is kind of the King of Pentacles: he’s got his shit together (kinda) and is the classic leader figure.  The other, Sawyer, is the “bad boy,” full of kinetic, crazy energy (that he eventually tempers, to a point), but he is similar to the Page of Wands.  I think the Page of Wands/Sawyer would be able to help me not murder myself (literally) while stranded on a desert island and would be resourceful enough to keep us alive for a year.  As long as it’s ONLY a year…….

2.  What are off-limit topics for you; inquiries that make you say “I won’t go there”?  Or is anything fair game?

Hmmm.  I haven’t specifically outlined topics I “won’t touch” but others’ answers were really good here (and that’s probably because most seekers have asked me for general guidance, nothing too specific or crazy).  In my “terms of service,” I’ve outlined clearly that the insight and inspiration my readings afford do not replace the advice of a professional in any field.  If someone comes to me for a reading and doesn’t know how to formulate a good tarot question, I’ll help them form a good open ended question that will get the energetic read of a situation and that I feel comfortable answering with the cards.

3.  How do you get “in the mood” or mind-frame to read?

In the mood, awww yeah.  It kinda depends.  I love to light incense, meditate for about 5-10 minutes before a session (lately, while listening to classical music), cleanse with palo santo or sage and Florida Water; this is my general routine.  But, sometimes that just feels like too much and too formal so I just grab a beer and shuffle.  Really, shuffling is the primary activity that focuses me and gets me in the groove.  As described before, my standard shuffling ritual is somewhat in depth — I shuffle the whole deck nine times, then split into three piles, shuffle each pile nine times, then shuffle the whole deck nine times, and shuffling the whole deck nine times between each card position.  I perform this shuffling ritual always between clients (the only thing I consistently do for each client) because it helps to center me on the querent/query and reset the deck (in my opinion).  So I guess my final answers is: I shuffle.

Here are other posts from this week that I’ve seen…

Ania

Julia

Jill

Rachel

Who would you bring on a desert island that wouldn’t make you go crazy?  What topics make you cringe?  What gets you in the mood, baby?  Let me know your answers in the comments below, or link me to your post!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x