Operation Concrete

I can’t decide if the post title is a statement or a question, to put an exclamation mark or question mark at its end. This is how I stay creative! Or, how do I keep staying creative, what stokes my fire, what parts of reality make my brain tingle enough to shoot its custard all over my peers? I think it’s probably a combination of the two. As of late, I’ve had a few problems making the words dance their little dance for me, but I think I know what the problem is.
writers block
I wouldn’t say for a second that it’s writers block, I’m afraid that I don’t believe in that, it’s a fallacy and any writer with any guts will never use such a tepid and weak excuse for not finding the words. It’s rather, a loss, something is missing. Normally there’s a selection of dots, my ideas, and they paint a picture…undecipherable when looked at initially, but if you squint, something comes through. Then, I run at them, with everything I’ve got, connecting them, always pushing for the next link, until, at the end of a chapter, there’s a vivid and wonderful image.

At the moment, it’s as if I don’t have anything to make me run. I’m content, and it’s a problem.

There are the obvious things that help one stay creative. You know, we’re social animals, people have stories, you steal these, make them your own, manipulate them, put them in your moleskine and use when necessary or appropriate.

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There are books and other forms of media, as much as you can possibly consume, with the time limitations that your life imposes on you. Reading, watching, contributing and thinking on the process of others, what has made them do what they do, how have they achieved this, what are the thoughts and issues behind them? From the brilliant, like Amy Winehouse, to the astonishing, like Watchmen – which I recently read and then almost came when I saw the movie trailer – to the bizarre, like Miami Sound Machine, and their awesome hit, Conga, you’ve got to listen to the beat. Hah.

watchmen - silk spectreThese are all very well and good, but they’re all contributors to something greater. At least with myself, I look very deeply inside myself, look at my manuscript in its current form, and realise I normally stay creative by remaining very angry. And I think everyone has to have this inside feeling, the feeling that makes them do what they do, not just input from outside stimulus, the stuff that’s all just coal for a fire, but if the fire has gone out, you’re just stacking up waste.

I’m an angry individual; there are philosophies, doctrines, images, people, words, music, shows, reflections, shapes and stories, etc, that all culminate into one big ball of anger. That’s how I’ve been for a very long time, as long as I can remember. But now, I’m very happy, I’ve fallen into a niche in life that makes me smile when I wake up in the morning and before I go to sleep at night. It’s great, but it’s not helping the words flow.

I began thinking about the issue after a recent Hugh Macleod post, on his new book, soon to be published. When he was younger, he was surrounded by chaos, and this helped him with some important and very entertaining writing. I am young and to a degree surrounded by chaos, but I love the chaos, I embrace it, so in line with what I’m currently talking about, it can’t help ‘the rage’. Miss Frye, from the Incurable Disease of writing, she’s recently lost her motivation, and I think that’s partly what I have also lost. The fire inside me drives everything that I do, pushes me forward, and now, the fire is merely hot embers, they need stoking.

I need a catalyst, I need bellows, I need a legion of invincible atomic super men to invade my consciousness with roaring might and smash with catastrophic power. As horrible as it sounds, I feel if I want to get this bastard finished, and finished to my personal deadline, I’m going to have to get angry again. The regular stimuli are still there, but like I said, it’s just mounting up at the moment. I used to say I was made out of grit and spice, now, it feels like kittens are licking my face and I’m a big fluffy cloud. Not good.

So, I guess to me staying creative is about obtaining stimuli from outside sources, people and media, and then using that to stoke your own personal fire, the fire that will burn a message in words, or images or sounds or whatever your medium is.

You have the spark, inside you, everyone does, it’s there to create that initial bit of flame, and it can be anything, but you need to use it, you need to feed it, and you need to find it through whatever means necessary to ignite your passion, and then, and only then, will the message flow properly. Your message will be created, and remain, and hold up against the crashing pillars of time.

I’m banging on a bit now. We’ll see though I guess, maybe I decide to become angry at the fact I’m no longer angry. Maybe I have a change of direction and pace, and try to write happy stories, personally I don’t think that’s acceptable. Or maybe I just take the linchpins of my previous anger, and consciously try to bring them back into my life, that doesn’t sound very pleasant though.

It’d be interesting to see what others, what you guys reading this do to stay creative, what your muse is, what you use to stay ahead of the curve. By the looks of things there is hope, R G Sanders from the Gentle Highwayman blog has recently started making the words appear for him, hope he’s able to keep moving in that direction.

I’ll let you know how I get on with my message, if the furrow in by brow begins to re-appear.

And now for this post’s Aspiriers Mark. Don for Orbis Writings is basically in exactly the same situation as myself, an aspiring novelist, learning the process of writing a novel as he goes along. The blog is a great little resource for things such as , which writing software to use, publishers and checklists. He recently said his post frequency will be reduced slightly because he’s comfortable with his writing, and getting more confident with it, great news for him I say.

One thing he does point to is difficulty with involving more than two people in a conversation at once. I’d suggest he reads some graphic novels; they are pure dialogue and really show you how to pull off speak in the written format. Best of luck to him.

Thanks to ArtMind etcetera for the 'writers block' image.