Creativity

A Millennial Writer’s Challenge

A Millennial Writer's Challenge

Photo by Sebastian Wiertz (CC BY 2.0)

Here’s my goal

Wholeheartedly (or at least halfheartedly, else I wouldn’t be writing this post), I desire to complete my first full-length fiction novel

Here’s my problem

My job requires me, as it does oh so many of my millennial compatriots, to sit long hours, behind a blue screen, typing frantically away in hopes of temporarily satiating the needs of some client or another. Their questions are “urgent,” “high priority,” “escalated,” so I keep clacking away at the keyboard.

Clack.

Clack.

Clack.

Then, once emails have been sent, I turn back to more substantive tasks. These require analytical thinking, careful strategizing, meaningful collaboration, etc., which is stimulating and enjoyable. They also require further sitting, further typing.

A lifetime supply of bluish haze is supplied by a thin artifice. I hear the birds chirp outside, and a thin wisp of wind pierces the window screen. I’m reminded of the natural light — red, warm, sustaining — glowing beyond the window.

My day ends. I’ve accomplished many tasks, given my to-do list a solid tackle, and now I’m free to turn to my novel.

But I’ve spent all day typing, sitting, processing. My mental reserves are running low. The bulging veins atop my hands are yelling at me: “Enough typing, enough mousing.”

It’s said that the cobblers children go shoeless.

By day, the cobbler so commits hand and back to welting, riveting, and sewing that by night, hand and back demand diversion.

The aspiring writer whose current profession requires unyielding hours of words, sentences, and paragraphs suffers a phenomenon of comparable ilk.

Here are my options

First, apply determinative, almost barbaric levels of “just get over it and push through” mentality. Depleted cognitive resources render this difficult.

Perhaps a dose of good food and drink could do the trick. Yes, that’s a good starting point, especially if the meal is sustaining and the drink is hydrating.

A walk. Yes, I should do that. Get the the ticker pumping, breath in the fresh air.

Maybe a pinch of reading to stimulate my creative energies: Steinbeck for tone and sense of place, Tolkien for a pinch of fantasy, the news to snap me back to reality.

Okay, just about ready to start writing now.

Beep. Beep.

Oh look, a late night email. Not a problem. I feel refreshed, I could wrap that message up in no time. Wait a second … what do they mean “appreciate the general theme, but have larger concerns about the overarching concept?”

Crap. This might take a bit longer than I thought. Probably best to type it out on a full keyboard.

Clack.

Here’s the truth

Stories exist because the protagonists experience hurdle after hurdle, but keep on keepin’ on. They make sacrifices to get where they are going. It is the challenge along the way, not the success at the end, that entrances us readers, invests us in their plight.

Note to self: Perhaps the writer’s own story is no different.

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Being Original in a Creatively Crowded World

Being Original in a Creatively Crowded World

WITH SO MUCH creative content seeping out into the world, it  sometimes feels like true originality is an increasingly unobtainable objective. After all, there are only so many plot structures, so many colors, and so many notes.

“No one can see the world through your own eyes, tell your story, or paint your picture. Only you can do that.”

But instead of despairing before the great collective oeuvre of all the world’s artists, we should feel free to reference its genius—and without feeling like doing so somehow infringes upon our own creativity. (more…)