Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Turns You On?

By: Michala T.
You would think that someone like myself has a constant source of creativity flowing through my entire mind and body, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. With the two novels I am currently working on, the blogging, the behind the blog work (and there is a lot of that), the personal journaling, the personal and business, and academic side of reading, and everything else that controls my life I am always bumming over the lack of creativity within myself. And it’s so frustrating! Seriously! Sometimes it can get so bad that it chucks me into deep pits of depression. A perpetual streaming of self-doubt blended with that incessant nagging inner critic that just won’t just the hell up! Sigh…

So when people ask me or you, “Gee, so and so, how do you find all that creativity much less the time to do it all?” they really don’t know how loaded a question they truly are asking! Asking someone what turns them on…um, in regards to their passionate CREATIVITY is like asking a Schizophrenic ‘which voice are you listening to today and why did you pick that one to listen to?”


Yup, its exactly like that! Okay, so maybe not. I’m not a schizophrenic so I personally can’t tell you what it’s like from that perspective but I’ll tell you that sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy and when I try to explain to people things about my creativity I get those looks like they are picking out what color straight jacket goes best with my eyes.

It’s really not an easy question to answer. What turns on the creativity within me? There are a lot of things that can potentially set the wheels turning. It really does make a difference the timing, the mood, the atmosphere. Wow, huh…now that I think about it, it’s very much like foreplay. But…let’s keep this clean, shall we?  HA!

So here is a sample list of the things that can sometimes, when all the elements are lined up perfectly, turn me on…creatively, that is.

1.     The television. This is a very poor outlet to use and one that I rarely turn to. However sometimes I will see a movie or a portion of a TV episode and one little clip or one tiny word, scene, or whatnot will compel me to think about how I might write that myself. A bad movie can sometimes get me going…how I would have written the screenplay better and such.

2.     Having a fanatical-creative minded friend. I have one or two of these friends. They are bubbling with that creative energy and high on their own ‘whatever has turned them on’s that it is boiling over so much that when they talk with me…it spills and gets me going. Their energy is contagious.

3.     Creative writing classes/groups/programs-I took a creative nonfiction class that really got my mind thinking. I had fun with the assignments and listening to the others around me just helped me grow my own book of ideas. (Be careful though because sometimes these groups can cause you to feel worse about yourself because you begin comparing yourself to them.)

4.     Entering a competition-I don’t do this much but as some of you know I did begin NaNoWriMo this month and I’m forging ahead, thru thick and thin. I have some days where I would rather be sliding down a slide of razor blades into a pool of alcohol, but other days…I’m flying and gliding and soaring and just loving every second of it. You have to write for THOSE days!

5.     Joining an online forum-Sharing your writing with others, again very much like #3. The same warning applies, although this time, an additional warning…these people are just like you and me so when their words hurt…brush ‘em off!

6.     Dive into a genre you wouldn’t normally do (even if its done secretly). There are many people out there that write for children under a pen name, write erotica undo a pseudoname, or write horror stories that are vulgar and gruesome. I call out these three genres because details details details is what they are all about. Children need to see and hear and taste to get involved in their stories. And we all know erotica is all about bringing the senses alive as well. Horror stories use details in an entirely different way but still bring out the scene and make the reader shriek inside! Writing these, believe it or not, will help you hone in on your abilities to describe and define your scenes and characters.

7.     Get away from that which calls you. Go walk in the park, ride the public transit, go sit at the mall dining area. Get out and go where you can observe people. Eavesdrop! IT’S FUN! And you will definitely come back with some very intriguing ideas for your characters. I promise, do this a few times and you’ll have plenty of new things to incorporate into your writing.

8.     Attend an event-Go to a wedding or a funeral. Anything that will invoke strong emotions within you is bound to get you feeling and thinking some STRONG stuff…stuff you will use to write with.

9.     Visit a new restaurant-Scents can ignite creativity! Really, it can. When you start smelling things it ticks off memories of things from your past. Where did you last smell that from? Who were you with? What were you doing? As we get older we tend to forget the small things but our nose helps us bring it all back into focus. And these little memory joggers can also help boost our creativity.

10.                        And last but not least, DREAMS- I get so many ideas from my dreams. Even if I can’t remember the entire dream and only a small thing from it it isn’t just the dream but the emotions and feelings we have that the dream has caused us to feel. This is just as important as what you dreamt. When you woke up, were you scared, on edge, nervous, thrilled, sad? These emotions…if they are strong enough for you to feel them…you need to immediately get to writing. It doesn’t matter what you write at that moment! Just write! Because such intensity built up inside you…is like gasoline burning….it’s hot…and you want to use up every bit of that heat you can!

So, hope this helps you some. I would love to hear what sort of things spark YOUR creativity!

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