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Circus Rambles - On the creative process

May 17, 2018

In the past, I haven't had much of a creative process. For some reason I feel pressure to constantly be creating masterpieces on the first try. Several of the creators I admire work hard and work quickly, and they put out work at a rate that quite frankly makes me feel like I'm doing it wrong. It's hard to avoid feeling like I should be able to just sit down for an hour and come out at the end with an amazing piece of art that doesn't need a ton of editing in order to not be garbage. Possibly contributing to this is the fact that I've always had the tendency to self-edit as I write, meaning I'm likely to be stuck on a sentence for days if I can't immediately find a good way to continue or if I think that the sentence I'm stuck on is just the worst thing ever.

 

I do know that this isn't a realistic way of thinking. Just because people produce work at a fast rate doesn't mean they aren't working hard or editing things a bunch. And I've been constantly trying to teach myself that I should not force myself to create things at a pace that doesn't work for me. I'm trying to learn not to put so much pressure on myself.

 

Lately I've been trying to start taking notes or writing down ideas as I get them. Then I go back later and look at what I have and start trying to work with it. That sounds like something a lot of people do, but it's admittedly a bit new for me. I have about half a million cute notebooks piled up, but I don't often remember to actually take them out with me so they can get some damn use, but lately I've been doing that. And now I have pages of notes that I might be able to work into decent things. And that feels nice.

 

I've also been thinking about trying to outline lately. I haven't done much of it in the past, partly because my attention span wanders frequently and partly because I've never felt like I'm very good at outlines. But the few times I have managed to get myself to use one, it did help. I feel like my avoidance of them is part of the aforementioned desire to immediately produce a masterpiece. I'm trying to think of them as maps to a completed project, so to speak. Nothing is wrong with using maps.

 

As I've probably proven repeatedly by now, I sometimes worry about releasing my creative projects into the collective wild that is the Internet. It's particularly bad when dealing with highly personal works like fractured starlight. Having your works criticized is one thing, but when said work is about a personal trauma, then it's hard to separate criticism of the work from criticism of the traumatic event. It feels like I'm being told that my feelings aren't valid. And yes, I KNOW that this is not a good way to think about it. I really need to remember that reviewing a work is its own thing and someone not liking my abuse poem doesn't mean they're invalidating my feelings about the abuse, for example. Like...I really need to remember this. I am a reviewer myself, after all.

 

Perhaps I need to go around and collect some writing tips. Knowledge is power, after all. And I'd like to keep making my creative process better. I think doing so will help make the works I produce better. So I'll keep on keeping on.

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