The creative process

Apr 28, 2011 | Personal

A few days ago, I realised that I have to rewrite roughly a third of the Novel. Most of the middle section is flawed, to the point where I don’t know what else to do with it.

Yeah, it’s irritating. It’s not enough to have written a book – the book is a product, and the product must be publishable, sellable, and marketable before you ever get to the point of querying. The creative process always works in mysterious ways, however, and I’m not really all that angry about it. Hopefully I’ll get closer to the finished result in time.

I got to talking to a friend of mine yesterday who was going through some pretty painful writer’s block. I’m familiar with it, of course, but what they described was just so far beyond anything I have ever experienced that I wonder if I’ve ever really suffered from it at all. Two years, more or less, of stifled and deadened creativity; two years of being unable to make. I fully admitted that I cannot conceive of what that’s like.

I can’t imagine a world where I am not a storyteller. I can’t imagine a world without inspiration. I don’t even know where I get ideas from – I usually need nothing more than a prompt, a word, a feeling, and the story just tells itself. Refining it, of course, is another job entirely, but to be without that initial spark would be as close to absolute hell as I ever want to get. Hearing my friend talk about it makes me painfully worried about them, and makes me afraid.

Since getting to Canada and giving up regular work in favour of freelancing, I’ve started writing more than I thought I ever could – and I’ve got a little more courage in showing my work, finally. I keep saying that it’s taken me fifteen years to get good enough to be read at all, but in reality, it’s also been fifteen years of pure terror that anyone actually see my work to begin with. I’m getting past that, and now I’m just afraid that I might lose my inspiration.

Long may the creative process last, I say. The latest thing I wrote was over on Kevin Sheridan’s blog, in response to a prompt. Nice guy, obviously doing better than me in that he already has an agent.