*Sits at laptop, drumming fingertips together and trying her best to look pensive as she gazes (internally (work with me)) at the beginnings of an idea for a post*
*Reaches out for the idea (if you could get a kind of ‘Iron Man with those cool holographic plans he whizzes around in mid-air’ image going on, that would be great, thx) and picks it up, turning it over and over in her hands, watching as new quirks and entrons and twidgles blossom on its surface, whilst others wither and disappear into nothing*
*Finally decides that the idea is sufficient and sets it in mid-air, spinning gently so it can be viewed from all angles. The idea is exquisitely beautiful, as though crafted from lead-crystal and neon – rainbows dance off the walls and across her skin as the light is refracted through the facets of the idea, and a glow seems to pulsate in the very centre of the idea, as though glitter and magic were broiling together in a tiny bubble, which might burst at any moment and explode shimmering beauty over everything in the vicinity – it is finished, and the idea is perfect*
So about a year ago I did one of those ‘what’s your creative process?’ posts that were all the rage at the time. I enjoyed writing it and it seemed to go down well with whichever itinerants happened to be nearby at the time. I got tagged by Mark (an embarrassing number of months ago, it’s true) to do the same thing again and I thought I probably wouldn’t bother, but it’s been bugging me, because I think my point in writing has changed somewhat (although it’s true, the focus is still very much ME ME ME (and why not – it’s MY blog!)). So here I am, late to the game and entirely unapologetic about it. Because at least I got there in the end, right?
What are you working on at the moment?
I discovered today that it’s 10 days until the next 1000Speak linkup (this time on the topic of connection, in which I shall revel, cos I’m aaaaaaall about that) and somehow in spite of the 20th occurring at about the same time every month, I am perpetually surprised and caught unawares when it comes around again. So I’m thinking like mad about that one.
It’s also the 100th week of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop this weekend, and there are going to be ample opportunities to point and laugh as the co-hosts all show you their boxes (which means I need to attend to my box, ready for it to be on display!).
And as ever, simmering away in the background is the novel I may never write (but would like to have a first draft of by Christmas) and in fact, some headway has been made there. After a break of a few months (life, yo! – allow me *that* one, at least) I woke up slowly the other morning and my brain kicked out a perfectly wonderful story arc, which would tie a lot of plot points together and allow for the story to move forward and gain depth. I’ve also landed a writing buddy, who has agreed that she and I will encourage each other and check in and see how one another are progressing. Exciting stuff, and I definitely think that the idea of some accountability will help me to keep going.
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
*wrinkles nose on one side* Oh gosh, when you say it that way, “genre” doesn’t half sound like ‘niche’, which is something I absolutely refuse to get into. There is altogether too much fun in eclecticism, with the only common element being ME. So unless there’s a niche for egocentricity, then back off, Jack!
In all seriousness though, I think that there are two obvious ways my writing differs (well, admittedly, not completely, because in a world full of x billion people, of which so-many million will consider themselves writers of one form or another, I’d stipulate that anything I produce will not be unique)
- I want you to FEEL – whether it’s fiction or memory or deep ponderings, I want you to have an emotional reaction to my writing. I pepper it with little *makes tiny, twinkly star movements with fingers* because I want you to imagine me *doing* the whatever-it-is, because as wonderful as writing is at allowing you to know someone’s heart and soul, it’s the emotional landscape and to an extent, the physical communication which needs to be taken into account by the psyche in order to generate connection, engagement and investment. For instance, I’m kind of hoping that at this point you’ve imagined me to be a little bit eccentric and a lot adorkable, and that my way with words is sufficient that you’d like to continue reading and find out more about me, even if you’ve been here a hundred times (or more, in which case I think you probably earned yourself a big ol hug and a kiss on the cheek for being such an awesome supporter), because I’ve tried to imbue each piece with personality, and that’s garnered an emotional reaction from you.
- I want you to DO – I spend hours and hours and hours writing, and frankly it’s a time-suck when I could be doing something useful or productive like helping to save the world or cure cancer or figure out how to nix mental illness (or, yaknow, laundry or something) but here’s the thing: you RESPOND! Not to every post, granted, and that’s not always the point, but particularly with 1000Speak and the TToT, (and not to mention the ‘Using Writing to Keep Fighting’ series of posts I did to raise money for cancer charities, and the book promos I’ve done where you’ve ended up ACTING to support my causes or my featured authors) you DO STUFF. Whether it’s writing your own thing, or finding a way to take on board something I’ve said and bring it into Real Life…you DO THINGS, and I think that’s a wonderful, magical connection which I never want to lose. It means that you’re not passive readers – you’re active, critical thinkers who assess what I’m putting out there, decide that it’s worthwhile, and then make it your own. And that is MARVELLOUS.
Why do you write and create what you do?
Oh, I like it – a simple one! TO CONNECT.
(actually, sometimes I also create just to be goofy, as evidenced by the emoticon I invented, spammed my friends with this morning, and then had to explain a hundred times because they had NO idea what I meant by \oo/_ (which, by the way, is something I want to turn into a *thing*))
How do your writing and creative processes work?
Sometimes it begins with a notebook and pen (ballpoint, black, from preference), and a lot of scribbly notes which later make half the amount of sense I thought they would at the beginning, and a HUGE amount of crossing out, writing over the top of other writing, and arrows showing me where I think particular ideas or passages could work better.
Sometimes (mostly in the case of poetry, it has to be said) it just happens and the words rise up in my mind, rearrange, swirl briefly like jewels in a wineglass, before pouring out of my fingertips, through the keyboard and onto the screen, complete.
Occasionally something Real will inspire me to write – a moment in time, the look on someone’s face, a particular object I’ve come across, or a story I’ve heard.
More often than not, my process begins with a blank screen and a winking cursor, and a moment or two very seriously studying my fingernails and wondering, absent-mindedly, whether there is anything at all in my brain which either hasn’t been said yet, or can be re-worked to provide a fascinating, enjoyable piece of writing for YOU,
dear readers (nah – hate it when people do that ‘dear readers’ stuff. Or ‘friends’, which most of us are, but I still don’t like it. When it comes to breaking the fourth wall, I think Helena does it best, and I can only hope to compete (but then I do things like tuck little asides in my (stacked (always, where possible)) parentheses where I: *wanders over to you as you read, and sits watching, elbows on the table, head nestled in hands, smiling at you til you notice*). Anyway, to judge by the level of conversation I usually find in the comments section (by the way, THANK YOU for that – I’m a firm believer that most of the magic happens in the comments box, and I really appreciate the chance to hear your thoughts and have a little chat) I succeed more often than not, so YAY! *happydances*
And then there’s promotion, encouragement, therapy and my determination to build community and ensure that people who read me, who might have gone through any of the same difficult experiences, do not feel ALONE. Those things matter HUGE to me, and I really appreciate the opportunity afforded by the Blogosphere to make my point, spread it around, and reach as many people as possible. It all comes back to connection, and whether it’s trading childhood war-stories, frothing with excitement about a new book I love, or plain old reaching out in solidarity to someone who’s having a hard time, I LOVEADORE that I have this place to do that.
Which is why it’s entirely fitting that I’m going to end this post on a promotional note. BECAUSE I CAN, and it pleases me to do so.
To buy a book which was released this week, and which I have promoted TO THE HILT because it creates the opportunity to talk real about mental health, and because it’s a gorgeous, sumptuous, sexydarkaddictive read, click HERE.
To buy a book which was released last month, and is an absolute ROMP of a tale, and which completely consumed me, twisted, turned and delighted me, click HERE.
To buy a play which I think is my second-favourite piece of Shakespearian, brought scorchingly up-to-date with a modern conundrum, pop-culture references, and which made me laugh so hard there were several occasions I stopped breathing, click HERE.
To buy poetry by the person who most evokes my poetic mind, and around whom my words just POUR into verse, click HERE.
I’m gonna finish by passing on an award I was given, very sweetly, by Leslie, who likes my writing. The Premio Dardos (Espanol? Bueno!) means “prize darts.” This award recognizes cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values in the form of creative and original writing.
I’m going to award it to Lisa Sadikman (of the gorgeous, sumptuously-written blog Flingo) for consistently enrapturing me with her writing style, Quirky Chrissy (blog of the same name) for making me laugh, for keeping me entertained, and for making me DEFINITELY want to be friends (see? connection!), and Kim (of the wicked funny, painfully in-yer-face blog All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something) for her writing-warrior approach to mental health issues and living life in spite of sometimes having to make that choice several times an hour (and also for LETTING ME WRITE ON HER BLOG about mental health on Wedesday 13th (which may or may not be RIGHTNOW for you).
And with that, lovelies, I’m DONE. If you stuck it out, well done, and here *very gently reaches out and beeps you on the nose, before giving you a gold star sticker for being awesome*