This is the second in a series of insights and lessons that I’ve learned during my time as a novel-writer and published author in a series entitled “The Writer’s Handbook.”
Creativity. It’s the one thing every writer needs. It can strengthen your narrative voice, energize your plot, and create unforgettable characters. It is the essential ingredient to a successful writing career. I only wish I could bottle it…
If you’re like me, you have your fair share of creativity. It’s managing it that can get kind of tricky. Allow me to explain.
Early in my writing experience, it seemed there were times when my creativity flowed from my soul like a mighty river; I only had to channel it in the right direction. Other days, I had to send bloodhounds to find it; my brain just couldn’t communicate with the empty page. And that’s the thing I learned about creativity—it’s elusive.
Over time, I began to pick up on this phenomenon. I began to notice that there were certain times of the month that I was more creative than others. And even certain times of the day that my mind just seemed to work better. And, of course, I found the inverse was true, too.
In a perfect world, I would put aside some of my creativity for the dry spells. (Just take it off the shelf, blow off the dust, and plug it into my brain). But, since I’m stuck in the real world, I must resort to managing my creativity as best I can.
So, to maximize my time (see The Writer’s Handbook: Managing Time by T. C. Harrelson), I now structure my writing time around my periods of greatest creativity. On a daily basis, that means putting aside some time at night when my brain seems to function better. On a monthly basis, it means taking advantage of that week or so of greatest creativity to get as much accomplished as possible. Usually, this entails moving along the novel in rough form; I edit later when my creativity is low.
That’s the way I manage creativity. And I often wonder if I’m normal. I look at great authors (e.g. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy) who seem to release bestselling novels as often as I release my tax returns. Are they bursting with creativity? Or do they simply have a good system?
What do you think?
T. C. Harrelson is the author of The Beast of Macon Hollow, available from Second Wind Publishing