Coaxing out the creative process

What do we do when one story is done and we know we want to write another?

How do we transition from a brain full of ‘tough editor’ and ‘marketing guru’ mindset back to that place of creativity and free-flowing imagination?

They’re questions I’m asking myself as I work on the edits for Seregn. On my last day of covid isolation I’d long finished the first round of edits and found myself getting antsy, pacing around my little living room back and forth. 

It was time to sit down and do something creative. 

“Maybe,” I thought “I could start brainstorming my next book”.

I’ve heard stories of authors absolutely brimming to overflowing with ideas – so many they’ll never get them written.

That’s not been my experience. 

I have snippets. Ideas. A character here, a scene there, a vague history of the world, a geography, another character, a theme or thirty, but I don’t have these full to overflowing creative wells of story.

But that’s ok. 

There’s a song by Audrey Assad, called ‘Slow’. One line goes:

My faith is not a fire as much as it’s a glow

A steady humble lamplight in the window”

That first line repeats a couple other times in the song with different follow ups, but you get the idea. Beyond faith, sometimes I think my creativity is a bit like that – a steady humble lamplight, or (as per the other lines) a ‘quiet lovely burning’ or a ‘little burning ember’. I have a faint light of what I want to write, I have a spark or two of character, a slight warmth of emotion. And from there I need to sit, and think, and coax a story to life. 

Me with the first draft of Seregn in the bright binders in the background. It’s been so long!

While it’s tempting for me to believe that this means I’m less of a creative, I think it’s important to refrain from such thoughts. Whether we’re brimming with a story bursting to get out of us, or we simply have that little glow in our hearts that tells us we want to create a tale of sweeping beauty and movement, it’s valid.

That approach has allowed me to craft Seregn, a story I’m so very excited to share, a story that touches my heart, because that’s where I deliberately formed it from. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. 

So, on that last day of isolation I spent a short time writing out the snippets and themes and concepts in my notebook, and for now I’ll let them percolate. I’m sure I’ll get there, write another story to capture hearts and woo imaginations.

I’ll just keep feeding that little ember. 

But for now, life is indeed busy, with plenty to focus my attention towards – not the least planning for the release of Seregn. I’m prepared for the next tale to take some time to come to life. It’ll be whatever that creative process takes. 

Which brings me to another thought – how to feed that creative well. Nature, seeing incredible sights, is definitely a big one for me, but another is probably not being busy and having the time to feel my soul expand and flow and my imagination to sprawl freely. 

It sounds airy fairy (deliberately – I have to be able to wax lyrical sometimes ok!) but you get the idea. For now though, it’s back to the editor and marketing mindset!

How about you? What’s your creative process?

2 thoughts on “Coaxing out the creative process

  1. Wow, I like the way you describe your creative process. Mine isn’t so elegant. I just get an idea (roughly) and execute, stumbling along as I go. I guess that’s why I enjoy seeing how others approach their process. Everybody does it so differently! Anyway, thanks for this post!

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