Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tuesday Feels Like Monday

I'm having a Monday kind of Tuesday, but I've promised myself to be faithful about posting, and this early into it is no time to give myself a break. So, I'm taking Anne Lamott's writing advice and writing a shitty first draft. Of course, she follows that advice with edit, edit, edit.

That's good advice. The hardest thing about being creative for a living is the terror of continually facing down the blank page. No one knows where creativity comes from, or how to dependably access it. Thankfully, over the years I've developed a library of tricks, tools and mind games to help me past that initial abyss. For instance:

  • Start the software. That sounds really elementary, but waiting for Word to boot up can waylay one who is not hot on the trail of a good story to begin with.
  • Just write and see what happens. I eventually figure out what I'm writing about, and may actually have something worth salvaging.
  • Mind map. There are fancy software programs to do this, but I like a big blank sketch pad and colored markers. I write my central theme in the center, and brainstorm outward from the center. A trick to engage the right side of the brain is to doodle and use color. In the end, I wind up with a rather random outline. Thoughts get organized, and more often than not, I'm ready to write.
  • Take a walk.
  • Scrub the tub, empty the dishwasher, pick things up--anything to get moving for a short period of time. The key is to make it something that doesn't take long, but gets me in a constructive mind set.
  • Read Bartlett's.
  • Set the timer for ten minutes and surf the web for inspiration. I especially like to look at really great photo sites like Clandestina, Caedes and Daily Dose of Imagery, to name just a few. It's like taking a virtual vacation, and I can return to work feeling refreshed.

From Daily Dose of Imagery

From Daily Dose of Imagery, originally uploaded by Jill.y.