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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

As a writer and an artist, I sometimes feel that I’m failure in that I’m not completely depressed and/or write depressing things. It’s a stupid thing to think about, but when many great artists and writers line up with that, it’s hard to believe that someone as generally happy and content as I am could ever be a good artist or writer, or even a great one.

At a writers Q&A panel that I participated in recently, I was surprised to hear devastating stories from the other three authors that I was with, and how those events shaped their creative lives. I sat off to the side thinking that I had never had to deal with anything like that, and I questioned if I was even a legitimate creative because of it. Should I have been damaged in some way in order to draw inspiration from and to give inspiration to others?

The answer is a resounding no. It’s always a momentary thing when I start walking that line of thought, but I always come back to the fact that it’s not a requirement to have to deal with an extreme tragedy in order to be creative. It’s a requirement to deal with life, the good and bad, to be able to draw on both when the creative product needs it.

It’s a similar debate that I have with myself when I’m writing and I feel that I’m not using enough conflict in the story. But I absolutely hate when I’m reading or watching something wherein terrible things frequently happen to a character or characters. Yes, I get that sometimes it’s a cliffhanger, and yes, I get that it’s supposed to keep readers/viewers engaged. But I do like to see good things happen to people more than just once amidst a sea of awful events. Experiencing too much negativity through a story as a reader or viewer just exhausts me emotionally, and it ends up costing me enjoyment of the creative product.

But this is all personal opinion. I know there are people out there that like to read the dark, depressing things, and there are people out there that want to read the fluffy, happy things. I like a good mixture. And that’s why there NEEDS to be creatives who have all experienced different things, good and bad, joyful and ugly. That way there’s a book or a TV show for each person who needs it.

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Since 2012, my wife and I have hosting a New Year’s Eve writers retreat at my aunt’s cottage on Lake Ontario. The last few years have been really good, both productivity-wise and creativity-wise. This year, unfortunately, it wasn’t as good.

Although we weathered a series of unfortunate circumstances to get everyone together again, there was one that we just couldn’t fight – the weather. Our friends got trapped by the snow at the last minute, leaving just me, Katie, and my son at the cottage. And while that sounds great because it means less distractions (beyond our son, that is), we were actually less productive.

There’s something about having other creative types around. I wrote about this the first year we did the retreat, so I won’t rehash it. But I will say that the environment in which you try to be creative is crucial to your productivity. Some people thrive on being alone, and sometimes that’s true for me. But it seems that my most productive days are when I’m around other writers and creative types, and we’re all working hard. Maybe it’s the inspiration I feel at watching other people, or maybe there’s some sort of energy that forms around us, but whatever it is we were missing it this year. Still, it was nice to get away from our usual surroundings and work in a more relaxing one.

All that having been said, I did manage to get my first round of rewrites/edits done on the Bardsworth novel. There are a few more spots I want to go back and fix, and then Katie will give it another run-through. And I’ve been in contact with a potential illustrator for the cover, so that’s happening! If all goes well, I may hit my deadline of April for the release of the book.

Oh, and happy belated New Year everyone!

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I’ve been a bad writer.

By “bad” I mean that I haven’t done much writing at all in months. In addition to life events, I’ve gone from one update a week to two for my webcomic, I had a Kickstarter campaign that I was running (which ultimately failed), and a general lack of creative spark that hits all of us creative types from time to time.

I’m hoping New Years will kick me into gear. Some writer friends (including my wife) and I typically do a writers retreat once a season. Unfortunately, we’ve all been dealing with many things in our lives, so it’s been a while since we did one. Last year we rang in the new year in with a get-together and retreat, so we decided to do it again this year, and for a few days more.

If you’ve never done a writers retreat, it’s amazing. I don’t know how others do theirs, but what we do is we get together at my aunt’s cottage on Lake Ontario and we write. That’s it. Well, okay, we talk a lot, too, but it’s generally focused on our writing, the business of self-publishing, and things related to those topics. This year there’ll be a lot of talk about Doctor Who, but I’m sure the main focus will still be on writing. Maybe.

In any case, it’s a great experience to put yourself into a comfortable environment with an inspiring atmosphere, and to share it with people who are like-minded and as passionate about the craft as you are. It’s all fuel for the fire, the fire being your writing. All of us get so much done, and we walk away from the time fully charged up and ready to continue on our own.

I’m hoping to use the time to finish compiling and editing the Mystery, Murder, and Magic omnibus. I had stalled out on it, trying to complete a short story to add into the collection, but the story ended up not going as well as planned. And rather than let it gum up the works, I’m just forgetting about it for now. But, yes, I hope to finish that up, and to get a good chunk of work done on my Bardsworth novel. And I may, God willing, start in on my notes for the next Godblood Chronicles book. Don’t hold me to that, though.

Hopefully your New Years will be as inspiring and as creativity-filled as mine will be. If not, at least raise a glass with me at midnight.

Happy Holidays, all.

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