Sunday, June 24, 2012

The NaNo Diaries: 004 (Or, Things I've Learned from Camp NaNo)

I've been reading self-help books for the longest time and one of their basic tenets that they drill into everyone's heads is to stop being so self-defeating; focus on what you do want and stop giving attention to the things that you don't want. Well seeing as I'm at a weak point (on my period and feel a need to eat everything in sight and watch old bad movies featuring characters with big hair), I will confess what I've been denying for the past week.
I'm in a slump.
But I swear I'll get back to productivity soon (soon!). I've been collecting notes on how to get out of a creative slump, but I'll update y'all when I really do get that big fat eureka! moment.

1. Do other creative things.
Just this Monday I bought my first set of acrylic tubes and a few canvases. I've been sketching what I want to paint and it's coming along better than story-brainstorming. There are times for pictures, and there are times for words. I'm happy doing either, and this is definitely better than sitting at my computer every day and squeezing words out of my veins.

2. Expose yourself to new influences, writing or otherwise. I continually live in fear of losing my writing voice,  but recently I've realized that's as silly as Lady Gaga's claims that she practices abstinence because she's afraid her creativity would be stolen out of her vagina (this is completely true). Voice isn't supposed to remain constant; voice needs to change. People have ups and downs in their lives, and voice needs to reflect that (if you didn't have ups and downs, you'd be dead, one Internet-based demotivational poster so kindly reminds me). Experiment with new visual, aural, or kinesthetic influences. If you've always liked Coldplay, why not try Wiz Khalifa? Because when you try and force yourself to write a certain way without success, it's probably a sign that your natural voice isn't like that anymore. 

Marion Bolognesi's art is visually stimulating!

3. If it's characters you dread creating, work with what you have. I'm still the new girl at school (in a town where everyone's moms have gone to high school together), so I feel like I only see one side of everyone. These people fascinate me, and I find myself writing stories that try and give me an answer for what they're like outside of school. The best thing is, I already have an image in my mind of what they look like, what they say, and what their quirks are. I have ready-made characters! And about that disclaimer that appears in all books (Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental)--that disclaimer is probably the biggest lie. Ever.
4. Don't be afraid to stop working on ideas that no longer interest you. I'm the INTP (Myers Briggs test) and we're the absentminded professor types who, once we understand how to solve a problem (and the theory behind an application), don't really go through with it. With that said, though, I think of myself as someone who chooses only the projects that have major promise. If you have a great new idea as you're working on another piece, pause to work on the new idea. If creativity is just about connecting the lines where others don't see it, then doing this will only nurture your creativity and make your writing better.


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