So right now, as I am taking the time to pour over the first draft of my CWIP (Current Work In Progress), I am finding that anytime I take a break – go pick up my kids from school, go to one of their games, lay in bed at night, or just get a few minutes to sit on my couch in the quiet of night – I am pulled into creative thoughts about some of the other stories and articles I have worked on in the past. It’s like the different masks of creativity the muse has given me to wear while in character for different writings, are all trying to wear me at the same time.
I know that the most important thing for me right now is to finish this novel so I can send it off and start working on another one, but images and scenes for other works start playing out so clear in my mind that I have to grab a note pad and start writing.
Is this wrong? Is it some mind trap, keeping me from completing my CWIP and a paycheck? Well to be honest, I don’t know. What I do know is that some of these little creative ideas have opened doors for me and led to other publishing opportunities.
I Guess that my dilemma here is more an issue of when I will finish this project. After all it is this project that is most important for me. Because of this I have to look at it as just as much a job as it is a work of passion. As it is with all my writings, they start as a work of passion; something that I seem to give birth to. I can’t just push these stories out pre-maturely, and I have a problem sometimes pushing them out at all. Sometimes the are so over due that they finally just force themselves at, no matter where I’m at:
- The Switch: Pushed it self out at 4am on a Sunday morning and kept me up till 8am, and I had to be at Church at 10 am – leaving me about an hour of sleep, with a very full day ahead of me.
- Arbor Day: Forced its way out as quickly as I sat down at work to place a coffee order. I sat down and opened up my Outlook e-mail and WHAMMO, it hit me and I had to grab a close note pad and write.
- SHE: (a poem about my wife) came to me as I was driving down the high way from Doge City, to Wichita. My wife was in the car ahead of me with her cousin Traci, and I had the kids with me following behind. They had not seen each other for a while and I thought it would be nice for them to ride together. As I listened to Maroon 5, the kids slept, and I could see my wife in the car ahead, this poem just started to pour out like a broken fountain, and I reached into the glove compartment for my recorder, but the batteries were dead. So I grabbed a pen, and started writing – where else; my arm.
This has happened to me several times. But just as it has happened that quick, forceful, and fluid, I have also suffered from the CWIP’s taking forever to come out. I was reading an article in The Writer’s Digest, about working out your current projects, even though your creativity seems dry. The article gave great, but tough, advise. The truth is, you must finish your WIP if you intend to get paid. Sometimes creativity forces you to pick up your pen and flow with the raging rivers of the Muse’s current. Other times you have to pull out your WIP and say, I am not leaving my seat until I have worked it out. WORKED it out.
WORK IT OUT! That is the key. I am a writer. You are a writer. A writer writes, he/she does not think about writing, consider writing, read all the books out there about writing, but WRITES. The truth is, most of the time a writer has to WORK at his craft. Sometimes I sit for long periods of time, some times I walk back and forth talking to myself, interviewing characters, write out my problem and then start several ‘What if’ questions and write out the possible outcomes. Sometimes I sweat, strain my brain. Many times, WRITING is WORK.
When creativity speaks, I listen, I write it down. But then I file it and keep plunging forward into my CWIP. Let the many faces and masks of creativity wear you. Let them give you ideas, take you on short trips, vacation on strange planets, but don’t forget that to be a writer – full time, you have to complete that which is most important. To be full time, you have to get paid to be full time.
Sometimes the Muse will make you work, under an almost drunken state, and it is beautiful. Others times, you need to pound on her door when you she doesn’t want to come out, and make her work for you.
That’s it for today.