Thoughts On: Creative Writing

When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.

I always loved that line, it might not be the most insightful or evocative opening piece to a novel, but it has an elusive tone to it – something that grabbed my attention straight away: the first thing I felt was, what the hell do you mean by that? And so I had to continue. I think sometimes it’s the little things that make for a good piece of creative writing, and that line was an example of such a thing. As for where it’s from, I’m sure a quick google search will give you the result if you’re interested. So yes, it has not been long since my first post, I’ve been thinking over many of the topics brewing away in my noggin, and I thought why not do one on the topic of Creative Writing? It was something I mentioned in my first blog, so I believed a bit of continuity was in order.

creative-writing-2

As I’ve mentioned, I enjoy Creative Writing. One of the main things that I think explains my feelings towards it is the way my mind works: I dream a lot – both during the day and at night, I’ve always dreamed, even when I was young. Being a kid you see things that aren’t really there, like when you’re sat in the car imagining Spiderman web-slinging from each streetlight you zoom past, or convoys of soldiers and tanks marching through the fields adjacent to the M61 motorway, or my favourite being when you and the family are on a stroll through a forest: you imagine cheeky goblins flitting between the bushes, the birds tweeting in the canopy like there’s a secret stash of goodies up there they’re hiding from you. Of course you never really tell people these things, they’d think you’re away with the fairies. That’s because as you get older you tend to be a bit more cynical about the way your imagination works, you tend to anchor wild thoughts or concepts back into the real world, especially if you’re the sort of person who lives by wanting things to exist in a concise and logical order. However I’m not like that, as I get older my mind conjures up bizarre thoughts and ideas, and I’ve learned that if I can record down these snippets and further develop them, I’d have the workings of an interesting creative piece on my hand. And this is something I find I really enjoy.

Creative worlds: The Hush of Dawn by Clare Reilly

Creative worlds: The Hush of Dawn by Clare Reilly

But with the joys comes the woes. For all the amazing ideas I might have in the memory bank, I find it’s actually quite a challenge to put them to paper. This is most apparent when you want to turn an idea into a story with quite a measurable length. In 2012, around the start of November, I entered into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge: where I was challenged with writing a fifty thousand word novel within the month of November. Now to start things off, it didn’t help that I started five days after the challenge had started, so I was pushed to doing an extra thousand words per day. I remember starting with a great idea: a far-future odyssey of a young New Zealand man, striving to survive in the pre-industrial style country of the North Island, with all the urban life concentrated on a super futuristic Auckland, it was the working of some sci-fi fever dream and I thought it would be fantastic. But then, I found that as I was writing – pushing to meet my daily quota of 1,000 – 2,000 words – I was losing that creative spark, I regularly kept getting the dreaded writer’s block, I was writing more and more filler, the story felt like it was losing momentum, losing impact. I did finish it however, and in a way it is a completed story, and I’m happy I found I was capable of writing a fifty thousand word story. But, I knew straight away that it was in dire need of editing, probably so much I could shear off a good twenty or thirty thousands words to keep it close to the direction I want. Thing is, the moment I opened up the document to start editing, I just thought, good God where do I start? And so, I have that very story stored away until I’m able to muster up the courage to edit it.

But don’t let this put you off, all I’m saying is, don’t compromise. If your idea needs to be written as a poem, then that’s what must be done, it doesn’t matter how many obscure poets you can claim inspiration from, if that’s the way it makes sense to you then write it like that. If you feel your idea must be written as a novel, yet you know you’re not capable of writing one, hold onto that idea until you can. That core creative spark is at the heart of your writing, and will make it stand out from what would otherwise be perfunctory filler.

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