For the past year, maybe even two, my creativity has resembled a dried up well. Writers all around me would talk about the story ideas crowding inside their heads while I silently panicked. Because my head felt like an empty cavern.
Here’s the thing.
When creative people who thrive on creativity feel fresh out of ideas, it’s not a comfortable feeling.
Thankfully, creativity–like everything else in life–comes in seasons. We all experience winters.
Mine just happened to come once I started writing under contract.
It’s a weird thing, when your hobby turns into work.
Granted, it’s amazing, awesome, wouldn’t-trade-for-the world work. But it’s still work. I discovered that writing is no different from any other great job out there. It comes with aspects that are necessary, but not exactly thrilling. Like revising and revising and revising a manuscript until your eyes cross.
It didn’t help that in between all the in-house revisions for my contracted novels, I was working on the same uncontracted manuscript for almost two years. Which meant I hadn’t created anything new in a long, long time.
Last week, I finally finished that manuscript.
And last week, buds appeared on the creative branches in my mind. Those lovely hints of spring that have since turned into a full-out thicket of green.
How did it happen?
Part of it, I’m sure, was outside of my control. I don’t think we can ever really tame the winds of creativity.
But there are some things we can do. Like giving ourselves the freedom to brainstorm something completely off the wall.
I embraced the weird. I let my mind go. And came up with a paranormal romance dystopian-esque trilogy for young adults. Nowhere even close to my brand. I’m not sure it’s close to anybody’s brand, now that I think about it. No matter. I’m calling the new genre parastopian, or maybe dystormal. I haven’t decided yet. All I know, is this story is wicked.
Right about now, some of you might be wondering….
Why in the world would I spend my time getting excited about a story so far outside my brand? One I’ll most likely have to write on the side for what could be years?
Because it has invigorated me in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. And it’s having this amazing effect on my work.
It brought my idea generator back to life.
Since that night I let my mind go, I came up with three more story ideas. All three fit inside my genre and all three would be super fun to write.
So the next time you feel stuck or dried up or confused about your waning passion, let go of the rules and break through the boundaries and just have fun. It’ll get things moving and shaking again. And moving and shaking is good.
Let’s Talk: What do you do when you’re feeling creatively dry? What calls out to you more–parastopian or dystormal?
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