Feeding Your Creativity

I blogged earlier this month on my author site about declaring 2014 the Year of the Girlfriend – making a serious effort to spend time with my friends even though most of them live far away from me.  Not only am I making it a goal to interact with my friends in person but to make sure I spend time each day filling up the “social void” that consumes extroverts like myself.

 

Carving out time to spend with my friends is about more than just having fun, it’s about helping to replenish my well of creativity…I am a very social person and a social writer.  I love talking through ideas and plots with other people.  I love hearing other people’s creative ideas and what they’re working on – even if it has nothing to do with writing.  These are the kinds of things that inspire me to be a better writer.

 

This is how I feel after I spend time recharging with friends. Also, I wish I looked this cute in short overalls. But really, nobody looks this cute in short overalls.

 

 

Spending time with friends will affect my writing for much longer (and much more reliably and healthily) than holing up by myself with my laptop and gallons of coffee and trying to pound out the words.  I’ve known this about myself for a long time but I haven’t yet made it a priority – to nourish and feed the source of creativity instead of just demanding production from myself.

 

Everyone’s creativity gets fed in different ways.  For some the thought of of big social type events is more scary than relaxing…I’m an extrovert who was raised by introverts, so I understand differing levels of social needs!  The important thing is to discover what replenishes you creatively and then make it a priority.   I encourage you to do that this year.

 

What helps feed your creativity? Let me know in the comments!

Let It Go

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to look at my writing process differently.  I am a huge perfectionist and this can cause serious problems especially in the early stages of a new project.  How can I make it as perfect as it is in my head? There is always a brain/fingers disconnect – the gorgeous movie reel I see in my mind never quite translates correctly into typed words.

Fellow Indie Janeite Kimberly Truesdale wrote an amazing post called Precious Prose in which she talks about trying to make her words less “precious” to her.  This quote really spoke to me:

 

As writers, we get attached to our words. We often get caught up in word count and in getting things just right. We can linger over one word for a long time, wondering if it truly expresses all that we mean to say, and terrified that there’s another word out there that might do the job better than the one we have. We can linger the same way over sentences, paragraphs, chapters, worrying them until they are unrecognizable

 

Kim then goes onto talk about the value of the finish – of getting things DONE.  So much goodness in this post, make sure to go read it.  I want to use Kim’s point about making our prose less precious to us because this is something she and I are trying to hold each other accountable for.

 

It’s hard to put into words what my actual goal for the year is.  I joke that it is “writing ALL THE WORDS” but it is more than that.  It’s more than just substantially increasing my output or writing books at a quicker pace…I have so many stories living in my head, but sometimes the sheer amount of potential story scares me…The actual goal, I think, is letting go.  That letting go is twofold – one part is prying the claws of perfectionism out of my own mind, and the other is giving up the overly emotional attachment I have to those words.

 

What I am NOT advocating is putting out unedited work (I’ve been super clear about this in the past, but I feel it has to be said again).  I have actual nightmares about finding typos in published books.  I am, however, advocating thinking differently about the writing and editing process – and possibly truncating both.  I know my own potential and limits and I want to push through those limits and expand the boundaries of my potential.

 

I’m starting with limiting the amount of time I spend on a rough draft.  You cannot know the true potential of a story until it’s down on paper (or in a word processing document).  The story is what is important here; not what words are perfect, not poetry, not a lovely turn of phrase – the story.

 

I’m also going to shorten my rewriting and editing phases.  Again, this doesn’t mean I skip any of those phases, it doesn’t mean I put out unedited work, it means I put story ahead of pretty words. I can edit forever.  Literally forever.  I would love to pull Awake off sale right now and slash about 20 thousand words out of it.  It’s true!  It was my first novel and I’ve learned so much more about story-telling since I wrote it.  But it’s out there and I have to accept that – and not just accept it but embrace it and build on it.

 

You never get better if you never move on.

 

Whatever project I’m working on right now doesn’t have to end up being perfect, just as good as I can get it right now. And then I need to let it go.  Let it live its own life out in the world and not stress about how it could have been slightly more awesome if only I’d done a, b, or c.

 

And now for a video clip.

 

 

File under: Jess is looking for ways to tie Frozen into EVERYTHING she talks about…and this song is perfect.

 

One thing I love about Elsa’s character development in Frozen is that she’s not really sure what she’s capable of until she starts really using her power.  When she spends too much time about controlling it the power fights her, consumes her.  When she finally embraces it and puts it out there for the world to see she realizes she’s capable of so much more than she ever dreamed.

 

So that’s my goal for they year: embrace the fact that I have a million stories clamoring for attention in my head, don’t be afraid of writing ALL the words, don’t expect them to be perfect but don’t be afraid of the work of making them the best they can be, and then finally of letting go of the story.

 

What say you? Do you struggle with perfectionism?  What are your writing process goals for this year?

Feeding Your Creativity

I blogged earlier this month on my author site about declaring 2014 the Year of the Girlfriend – making a serious effort to spend time with my friends even though most of them live far away from me.  This coming weekend marks the first of my girlfriend travel events as I go to Portland to hang out with my Indie Jane partners in crime Nancy and Patty.

 

Carving out time to spend with my friends is about more than just having fun, it’s about helping to replenish my well of creativity…I am a very social person and a social writer.  I love talking through ideas and plots with other people.  I love hearing other people’s creative ideas and what they’re working on – even if it has nothing to do with writing.  These are the kinds of things that inspire me to be a better writer.

 

This is how I feel after I spend time recharging with friends. Also, I wish I looked this cute in short overalls. But really, nobody looks this cute in short overalls.

 

 

A weekend of spending time with friends will affect my writing for much longer (and much more reliably and healthily) than holing up by myself with my laptop and gallons of coffee and trying to pound out the words.  I’ve known this about myself for a long time but I haven’t yet made it a priority – to nourish and feed the source of creativity instead of just demanding production from myself.

 

Everyone’s creativity gets fed in different ways.  For some the thought of of big social type events is more scary than relaxing…I’m an extrovert who was raised by introverts, so I understand differing levels of social needs!  The important thing is to discover what replenishes you creatively and then make it a priority!   I encourage you to do that this year!

 

What helps feed your creativity? Let me know in the comments!

Hijacked by Jane Austen and the Archangel

INDIE JANE: You were working on an entirely different book in a different time period when you began work on Jane Austen and the Archangel. How’d that happen?

Pamela Aares: I was putting the finishing touches on a historical romance set in 1851 (The Lady and the Patriot coming out in July 2013), complete with loads of daring adventures around the globe, a hot, hunky American hero and feisty English heiress with a nose for natural history, when a flash of golden light kept appearing at the same time every day in my new home in the country.

My husband and I had just bought an old goat farm and had turned the pastures into an organic garden where my husband grows our food. But along with a garden in the country came septic tanks and wells and, well, letter carriers! I’d lived mostly in cities, so that was a new phenomenon, all of it was.

A couple of afternoons later, I discovered that the gold light I was seeing was flashing off our letter carrier’s windshield and into my house. Within minutes of this discovery, Michael, the Archangel who falls in love with Jane Austen, began telling his story. The rascal simply would not rest until their love story was told.

What’s ironic is that though Michael is a powerful archangel, he’s also a bad boy angel. The book opens with him working undercover as a letter carrier delivering letters to Jane’s cottage in Chawton. He waiting for orders for a top secret mission that he’s to lead, but while he waiting… well, I don’t want to spoil it. The book has twists and turns and some suspense.

 

 

 

INDIE JANE: I understand that you took some heat for your detouring to write this book.

Pamela: “Oh!” said the agent, “it’s not exactly not your brand…and well, it’s paranormal. “Oh!” said the friend, “an angel?” And so on. Well, I’d never thought of angels as paranormal, they had always been such a part of my imagination and life experience. I thought of vampires and such. And Archangel Michael does battle with the very real forces of evil and darkness, so there is that.

And it’s true, I ‘normally’ write historic and contemporary romantic adventures. But readers and writers understand—a story comes to life and often has a life and will of its own.

INDIE JANE: What surprised you about the book?

Pamela: With Michael and Jane’s story comes a wonderful sense of her having been loved and loving, deeply and fully before she died. Somehow it just feels so much better knowing this!

Another thing that surprised me was the key role that Pride and Prejudice played in the characterizations; I hadn’t expected it. And a truly delightful surprise was all the wonderful help from the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton (I was determined to get the floor plan right!), the British Library and Janeites everywhere.

I’d love to hear from readers about stories that provided this sense of deep joy and happiness, of completion, of having been transported and transformed. And happy birthday, P and P! And, thanks for having me on Indie Jane.

Oh and Yes- we are giving away a free print copy of Jane Austen and the Archangel or an eBook copy, your choice!

*****

Before becoming a romance author, Pamela produced and wrote award winning films and radio shows including Your Water, Your Life featuring actress Susan Sarandon and the NPR series New Voices. After producing The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination, she knew without a doubt that romance lives at the heart of the universe and powers the greatest stories of all.

Pamela holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard and lives in the wine country of California with her husband and two curious cats. Her love of nature led to adventures scuba diving the coral reefs of Fiji, exploring the cliffs of Greece, sea kayaking the Rosario Straits and white water rafting the wild and scenic rivers of the west—and romance!  Please visit her on the web at www.PamelaAares.com.

 

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