Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 7, 2007

Creative Process: Who Tricks Who?

The other day, a member of my critique group sent me an email about his struggle to try to use spaces of less than two hours to write, though he’d always needed big chunks of time to write creatively, but small chunks are now all the time he has. Go for it, I wrote. We want to see your work. Maybe it’s just habit that has made you feel you need big spaces, but maybe, that’s who you are as a writer.

He wrote back, said he’d struggled with those two hours, and then… spilled over his time limit and kept writing. He didn’t say what he’d missed doing that… that paying freelance work most likely, maybe supper. But he seemed delighted to have some words on the page after being stuck for a while.

Can we trick our creative processes? I just read David Weisner’s Caldecott acceptance speech in the current July/Aug HORNBOOK. He tells about his determination to go in a new direction, making shorter picture books, with words, that take less than a few years to make. Fiver years later, he finished a wordless forty-page book, drawing together parallel stories that had festered for a while.

“The creative process can be such a pain in the neck,” he concludes.

Absolutely. It’s always good to try to trick our creative process, but be ready for it to turn and trick us back — maybe with a gift.


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