Friday, October 26, 2012

Kick-Starting Creativity


When people sit down to read a really good historical novel, chances are that most of them are not thinking about how much time went into creating it. Historical fiction, done well, is a very time-consuming process involving a great deal of research, travel (if you are lucky) writing and re-writing. It can take several years from start to finish.

That’s a long time to spend on a project, to focus all of your creative energy on one thing, one world, one character.

In the coming days I’ll be releasing the first part of a new novella series, IMMORTUI. I will write other posts about that soon. What I did want to talk about here was how much it can help creativity to start something new. With the novella, I had the chance to step back from the Eagles and Dragons work that has consumed me for years and focus on something new. All right, so, I’m still writing in the Roman Empire (I DO love it!) but it is a different period, involves a different location and of course, different characters. It is also a darker story than what I have written in the past, the Carpathian Interlude novella series being a bit of an exercise in darkness and horror. The change of pace to a small project, the act of completing something, has been quite therapeutic. 

Basically, it felt really bloody good to finish a project!

We like to see results, to stand back and look at the fruits of our labours. With a detailed, historical novel, it can take a long time before you feel that sense of accomplishment. That’s why I like the short term projects such as novellas or short stories – apart from being a literary exercise where you can try something new, you can attain and enjoy that feeling of completion.

As a writer, that special feeling that comes from typing ‘The End’ is needed. It signals achievement and that in turn encourages us to press on, to keep creating. I suspect that may be the case for all artists. 

I love my long term projects, but sometimes just stepping back and putting a little distance between myself and that world can grant me a new perspective that will allow me to jump right back in with a sense of rejuvenation.

So, next time you are feeling like your creativity is in a slump, that there is indeed such a thing as ‘Writer’s block’, step away from the world in which you find yourself and explore a new one. You never know what new adventure you will be going on and what inspiration will come out of it.
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