February 5, 2015

the call to create

Creation is an interesting thing. (And using the word "thing" to describe it would've earned me a docked point from my high school creative writing teacher, who wouldn't allow us to use the word in our writing.)

As a writer, sometimes I find myself working on demand. You have a story to write, and you have to just sit down and make yourself do the work. It was something I had to do as a journalist, it's something I do at my day job as a communications coordinator, and it's something I frequently do now as a novelist.

Creating is different. Creating is more of a calling. More than desire, it's a need to make something. To develop characters. To tell a story. While writing can be exhausting and rewarding, creating is more draining and exhilarating. For me, it's more emotion, more intense, more everything.

In short: Writing is what I do, but creating is when I really live.

What's strange is that creating and writing don't always happen for me at the same time, but one does help the other. There are times when I find myself jotting down story idea after story idea, character after character, trying to document as much as I can about the concept before I'm too spent to do anything else. Even when I can't find the words, I get lost in my thoughts imagining the world I want to one day share through my writing.

I rely on these files when I'm filled with the inspiration, or at least the inclination to write. Reasonably, with as many ideas as I have had, I doubt I'll ever be able to write them all. But even having the idea and creating the story in my head is a rewarding experience all on its own. Truthfully, it's my favorite part of the process, while also being the most conflicting for me.

There's something about winter and the story ideas it gives me. Maybe it's being cooped up all the time. Maybe it's having to rely on my imagination for entertainment, because I can only watch so much Netflix. Maybe I'm inspired by all of the heavy reading and watching I do while it's too cold to be outside. Maybe it's that the story I want to read or see or hear isn't readily available to me on a bookshelf or TV. Maybe it's just the way my brain works.

Whatever it is, I'm definitely in idea/creation mode right now. And in the last week, my "future projects" folder has grown bigger. I actually woke up early Monday morning with an idea so pressing, I had to write down everything I could--the main characters, the supporting cast, the details of the beginning and ending and what I imagined going in the middle. Luckily we had a snow day on Monday, because I was still taking notes well into mid-morning when I stopped for a break. This came on the heels of five concrete story ideas from last week, which are now anxiously waiting in the to-write pile.

Here's hoping one of those ideas sticks when the time comes for me to write. Even if they don't, my mind has been delightfully occupied. I suppose this is also my way of saying that if I come off aloof or inattentive when you're talking to me right now, I hope you won't take it personally. My mind is on vacation.

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