Last Week’s WW: Structure

Sometimes, I have a lot of ideas.  Occasionally, too many.  Other times, they just won’t seem to come.  Lately I’ve been feeling all of this.  I’ve been letting my writing anxieties build.  I’ve been avoiding writing.  I stopped the creative flow and I feared that the well had dried up.  It seemed like the harder I tried to think of an idea, the further away I got from it.  Maybe I was trying to hard.  I just hated feeling like I had nothing to do.  I hated having a bunch of ideas, but no passion and no real insight into any of them.

How do we over come this?  I can tell you one thing, avoidance is not the answer.  Putting the creative process to the side to “clear your mind” is anxieties way of getting you to procrastinate.

I’ve often said that the only way to do, is to do.  And I still believe that’s true.  However, there has to be balance.  If you put a lot of pressure on yourself, you may wind up just pushing an ideas away or stopping them before they start.

Recently, I’ve been watching scifi videos on Vimeo.  There’s a lot of great quality shorts on there.  I’ve decided to limit myself, or else I’ll get engrossed for hours.  But watching them a little can help with the spark.  I’ve also begun brainstorming.  Nothing too specific.  In fact, it started very non-specifically.  I’d tell my boyfriend to give me an idea, and he’d be like “what category?” I’d say, “scifi”, he’d want me to be more specific, so I’d say, “contemporary scifi”.  I was really no help.  After a lot of think and reading science articles, I finally decided that I wanted to write an action-packed, near future, robot survival sort of story.  I’m still unsure of what I’d have to bring new to the table, but that’s about as far as I got with that concept.  That was last night.

Then today, out of nowhere, I was in the shower.  And BAM! The plot of the second Otherworlders comes to me.  Now, this is something I’ve been thinking about and brainstorming for a while.  I had some general ideas, the big, sweeping points of the book, but nothing specific.  I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever come up with anything good.  And suddenly, there it was, like a present.  My mind flowed like the water in the shower, and suddenly, a story was born.

I got out and immediately set to writing it down.  1300 words later, I had an outline.

I didn’t think I’d get jogged for the second Otherworlders.  I was trying to write about Robots.  But I realize, it’s all connected.  By watching the scifi movies, brainstorming, reading science articles, and bouncing ideas off my boyfriend, I was actually clearing the gunk from my brain.  I was turning that creativity faucet little by little until finally the drips turned into a steady stream.

Showers have helped me have story epiphanies before.  If I’m in the right mood, I’ll write whole scenes, even dialogue, in the shower.  Now, keeping them in my head once I’m out of the shower, that’s the tricky part.  I’ve heard that being in the shower stimulates certain brainwaves.  I’ve also heard that it’s easier to have ideas in there because of the sensory deprivation.   Maybe both are true.  Maybe not.  What I do know, is that I wouldn’t have had any insights if I were still avoiding ideas.