A fellow artist friend recently posted this to Facebook, and I couldn't have described the creative process better myself. It can be a vicious cycle, but it is totally, absolutely, 100% worth it!
One of the most interesting parts of my writing journey thus far has been figuring out what my creative process looks like. Being a naturally organized person, I'm inclined to map things out from start to finish. I had this unrealistic expectation that I would be able to write this manuscript from beginning to end, in that order, sequentially.
Of course I hit a wall the first week upon diving in to this project. By day five, I was stuck. I couldn't figure out where to move next, creatively. My memories started to overlap each other, blending and morphing into indiscernible shapes as I tried to force them onto the page into the places that my mind had previously arranged.
Fortunately, I figured out very quickly that I can't force anything. When my creative mind paints a picture, it is vivid and heavy with memory, the sounds and smells and colors so intense it's as if I am experiencing them all over again. These are the pictures I need to capture at the very moment that they come flooding into my consciousness.
My manuscript will come together in bits and pieces, and I'm just along for the ride, a passenger in the vehicle of my subconscious. If this were fifty years ago, I'd have stacks of type-written sheets all around me, with penciled notes scratching specific moments in time. I'd also have a waste-basket full of frustration.
Of course everything is digital now, so instead of having one file titled, "Cherry Lane: A Memoir," as I initially started out with — the expectation being that I would write this lengthy, meaty story from start to finish in one file (HA!) — I now have many files cluttering my desktop, representing various times and places, to pick up and enter like looking glasses into the past.
I'm absolutely excited, overwhelmed, and terrified at what this book will become. What could be more beautiful than creating a raw and moving story out of nothing but memories, turning the pain and loss into inspiration, and being just as surprised as the reader at the final product?
If any of you are willing to share, what does your creative process look like? Is it similar to or different from my own?