Often it seems like I do nothing but write. It’s my passion, my favorite hobby, and my business. But it’s also fun. It’s important to remember that part of the equation too.
A few nights ago I had the chance to see the symphony orchestra Pops series. (That relates more to writing than you’d think, since I actually got the ticket from a member of my writing group.) It’s not my usual music, but Jeffery Straker is one performer who knows how to have fun. In his characteristic red tennis shoes, he played a combination of his own songs – with backup musicians and his sister Jill (whose red fashion boots had to be a gesture of support) – and some old favorites, like Connie Kaldor’s “Wood River.”
It was a fun evening, and watching him on stage reminded me of the way I feel when I write. I lose all track of time and self when I’m writing. Often I feel like I’m chasing the images and scenes that I see so clearly in front of me, tapping furiously at the keys or scribbling in a handy notebook to get it all down.
Don’t get me wrong: writing is a serious business for me. I’m a multi-genre writer, and I write for publication. For example, last week I found out I took first place in the SWG Short Manuscript Awards in three categories: Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction.
As part of my process, I do a lot of research, seek as much feedback as I can, and set aside time for revisions. I take professional development workshops whenever I can afford it – in fact, I went to four writing conferences this summer, including a major international conference, and I hope to discuss some of what I learned in upcoming blog posts.
But it helps to have fun too, as a way of feeding our creative lives or staying stimulated. At conferences, I book after-hours tours and sightseeing events to explore new cities. That gives me a valuable chance to network with other writers too. Sometimes I book an “artist date” with myself, as Julia Cameron (The Artists Way, Writing in This World) suggests, to see an art gallery, museum or book store just for fun. I try to go for a walk once a day, with Enya or Pendulum playing on my Blackberry.
Including some fun in my day works for me, as part of my writing process. What’s your writing process? How do you stay creative? Please leave a comment.