Creativity is a Habit

The thought that scares every writer more than anything else is running out of ideas. What if I just dry up? What if my creativity well runs out of water?

In the last couple weeks, I’ve had the opposite issue. Ideas keep jumping me like jaguars waiting in trees for prey to walk underneath.

My first novel, penned back in 2004, is in serious need of a rewrite not only to fix the amateurish writing, but also to make it more marketable. I wrote it as an adult novel, but the story would probably do better as a YA book. To make that fix, though, I’d have to make some changes to eliminate some of the more mature themes. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that.

Until a few days ago, when the solution suddenly popped into my head with no warning. I wasn’t even thinking about the book when the solution arrived.

This morning, I got a great idea to expand Wolf Dasher’s world in the coming books in the series, adding places that would allow me to tell future stories I’d wanted to but not been sure how.

The play I’ve been stuck on started rattling around my head on my drive home the other night. Voila! The means to overcome technical issues that had stopped me suddenly presented themselves.

I even have ideas for blogs assaulting me like thugs in a darkened alley waiting for me to come their way.

Of course, I’m still stuck on the plot for the Wolf Dasher short story I’m planning to give away free as a promo item to help sell State of Grace. It would be nice if the things I’m working on right now could participate in the same type of spontaneous idea creation. Funny how things work that way.

What I’ve discovered, though, is creativity is a habit. The more you work at it, the more the ideas just come.

I’ve been working pretty hard on State of Grace. Most of my work has been on the technical issues of getting it published, but I’ve gone through a lengthy editing process that has me thinking about the plot, the world, the characters, and everything else that goes into developing a solid, entertaining read. And, as my brain has gotten into the habit of developing and refining creative ideas for one book, it has started working on other ideas, if only subconsciously. When it gets something good, it lets me know.

If you want to build a career as a creative writer, you have to spend time being creative. Train your brain to think about possibilities, to consider characters, to think about plots. When you are doing that every day, the magic happens. Ideas spawn in the back of your mind and demand to come out.

Right now, I’m focused on getting everything done to launch State of Grace next week. But everytime I get an idea that isn’t part of that project, I write it down in my notebook, so I can come back to it later. I do my best to keep my creative well full and replenished.

Creativity is a habit, and, for a writer, it’s a good one to get into.


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