Tag Archives: creativity

Creativity and Chaos and Rubber Duckies

Many years ago I shared a meal with a friend at a legal conference and we got on a discussion of my writing as well as my firmly held belief that as a creative type I was allowed a little slack in the organization area. Mind you, clutter was something with which I grew up since my mother loved her little things.

In retrospect, that aspect of our lives was probably shaped by our departure from Cuba and leaving so many loved things behind. The two things I was able to bring with me were my gold Caridad del Cobre medal (my patron saint) and my little doll Pepito. He sits on the top edge of the sofa in my office in a place of honor.

But back to the clutter which invariably can lead to chaos and disorganization. In my mind I was entitled to some slack in the organization department because of my creative bent (and also a decided lack of time due to multiple jobs).

My friend looked at me and said, “Do you ever lose time trying to find something you need?”

The answer was an immediate “Yes” which was followed by, “And that was time that you could have spent being creative, right?”

At which point I was feeling rather embarrassed because she was totally right. If I spent half-an-hour searching for paper or something else that I needed, it was half-an-hour that I could have spent writing or relaxing.

Armed with that new insight, I took steps at home to clean up the clutter and get better organized. Not only did it make cleaning the house easier, but things looked neater and less oppressive. The one place I have yet to totally re-do is my home office.

There my doll Pepito sits, eyeballing the clutter, but I have started getting rid of the mess. And once a month, whether I like it or not, I get things organized. Now my goal is to just make it organized right away so that the once a month toss is not necessary. Get my ducks in a row which is in part why I chose that picture for today’s blog.

The other reason is that next week I’ll be at the RWA National Conference so you may see me be a little absent from the blog, although I am hoping to provide you with updates on what’s happening at the conference and some fun photos and videos!

If you happen to be going or if you’ll be in the Orlando area, please drop by the Literacy Signing which is taking place on Wednesday, July 28, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Walt Disney World® Dolphin Resort, Pacific Exhibit Hall. This signing is open to the public.

If you’re attending the conference, also look for me at the Grand Central Publishing signing on Saturday, July 31, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Walt Disney World® Dolphin Resort, Southern Hemisphere, Salon 1. We’ll have copies of books for you as well as some special bookmarks and fun Jesse Bradford football duckies (hence the ducks also) in honor of the hero in STRONGER THAN SIN!

Jesse Bradford Football Rubber Duckie
(I swear the rubber duckie is bigger than this!)

Stopping Your Internal Editor

There are a lot of things that can drain your creativity as a writer, but one of the worst is trying to edit while you are writing.

One of the important things to learn in writing quickly as well as writing effectively is not stopping and second guessing yourself about choices of words, sentence structure, spelling or grammar. Those are all things that can be fixed after the fact.

When you are writing your first draft, let yourself run free. Put down what comes out of your brain immediately. It’s always possible to go back and fix whatever it is that you think is wrong.

If you stop yourself from running free, you may miss creating something really different and interesting.

I will often write vital scenes without stopping (or stopping only a little). I want to get that rush of fresh thoughts down on the paper, especially when it comes to dialogue. Having the right pacing and words in dialogue often come easier when you just let it flow. It’s easy to go back and fill in what may be missing if you’ve got a good rhythm to your dialogue.

So – shut down your internal editor for that first draft. Let yourself explore new things and pour your heart out onto the paper. There will be time enough to fix things once you’ve finished the scene.

Thoughtful Thursday – Recharging Your Batteries

batteryYou’ve probably guessed it from past posts and blogs, but I’m a Type AAA personality, always on the go and with every minute of every day planned. Why? It’s the only way I can get everything done!

Of course, that kind of constantly being on the go can be really draining at times, so I was so looking forward to my writing retreat with my friends! We met in Las Vegas and it was wonderful!

Long mornings and late nights working on our books, talking about possible plots, synopses, you name it. Breaks for luscious dinners and some shows. Even a trip to a spa that’s already going to make it into a book, along with the whole Vegas locale.

The change of pace and the focus on just a few things – namely writing and my friends – really helped to recharge my batteries and I feel totally ready to tackle both some old and new projects that I had been struggling with for a few weeks.

So, if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut or can’t seem to get past an obstacle, take a moment and try something different. Take some time off and do something you would never think to do – like a few hours at a spa! Or visit with some friends and share ideas, like we did. I know it worked wonders for me and I hope it will work wonders for you!