How many writers can recall the first time they ever wrote something that came from the heart?
The first time they actually created a personal literary work that came from them and them alone. It’d be understanding if a writer couldn’t recall such a moment. Especially after all the piled up work over the years. Maybe they’d have more luck remembering the moment that inspired them. But the chances of getting that million dollar question right is a gamble in itself.
I unfortunately deal with this memory thing all to often. It can be common as writers tend to slip away even within the stories they are currently trying to create. My hardest challenge as a writer was to master continuity with in the characters. Which as we know gets harder the longer the story goes on. Hell, even with a team of writers tv shows can suffer from this sort of thing.
And that’s a combined effort (which was clearly emphasised by what was said in the previous paragraph but I just wanted to elaborate)!
So imagine the struggles of a writer who had a body of work that far exceeded their memory of the actual work. That just sounds unbearable when you think about it. I know it was for me after spending years building up an outline/story for the basis of an anime. It was the only thing I worked on for that period. Until I reached the point of not recalling the entire story arc of each character in the later books.
It was something I wasn’t aware could happen to a writer.
Which made writing the books more difficult and forced me to cut it short with a cliffhanger. Never knowing I would need room to reevaluate where I stood and how many years I actually spent working on this. If your curious, it was 8 years and what made it worse it’s that my work was done by pen and paper (Old school style since it was all I was afforded at the time).
Fortunately it was the bridge that led me to the writer I am today.
But could you imagine how long it’s gonna take to transition that to digital format. I mean, I’m pretty certain even a digital pen that scans paper to computer is going to struggle with this. Mostly because of the speed writing involved with poor written lettering. You know, the whole over swerving your A’s and lower case E’s. (No, that’s just me?)
Any-who, I just know confidently that memory and story line certainly clash with one another. So for those of who got this down packed in 2020, more power to you. However, it made me wonder about something else we creative writers go through. It’s the thing that from my experience can be a bit of a pain in the ass in terms of staying focused on a project.
It’s the whole getting a new idea crap that pops up like a random text message on the phone.
Just right out of no where even while you may be focusing on a story you are driven to get done. So help you if it happens to be a better idea than the one you are currently working on. Then it becomes a war of stories that should take a back seat. Which makes you wonder how a writer gets any novel work done at all. I suppose this could be why novellas are so common these days.
I saw a writer remind me about this on twitter yesterday but I never gave it serious thought till they brought it up.
Making me wonder how much more we are overlooking in the creative process.
- Is there actual possibility for stable structure?
- Does memory play a part in the random ideas we have?
- Are trading off ideas damaging to the creative process?
I certainly felt some draw backs from experiencing this in the last few years. But I also felt good about because I’m not going to lie, I kind of had a dry spell for the past 3 years. Which kind of scared me a little because I thought maybe I’d lost my mojo. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and I just needed a little time with writing sparked by inspiration.
I would presume a creative writers worse nightmare is losing the gift of idea.
It was one of the factors that also led to my shutting down my 8 year project. Since my ideas had run dry and I could no longer give it my all. Many years later you’d think I’d regret the decision to not finish up but that wasn’t the case. Of course it was a risk considering no one is promised tomorrow and it’s better to finish up while you can.
However, I’d grown tremendously as a writer since then and come up with concepts to add to the series that would give it a better identity then I would have previously.
So, the patient thing has allowed me to bypass the potential for disappointment in my written work (literally). Which is also a common factor for even some of the biggest writers. Who admit they would have done something differently with characters and story. This I have some how managed to prevent and I suppose it’s a big pay off for something that had taken me 8 years to create.
Lately, I have been working on a couple of story arcs that have been affected by this idea conundrum. My mind was set on creating a 3 part series that I was excited about. This was my next goal in story telling that I wanted to tackle. But these past few weeks have been spent on random illustrations that I have been posting online.
Mostly to show case my talent as an illustrator.
Then suddenly I drew a character that unexpectedly triggered my writers side. It inspired me suddenly to create cover art that then led to me realizing I could make a back story. Long story short I end up creating an outline for the story that expanded into another 3 part series. Followed by new art work concepts of characters I would be using for the story line.
The worst part about this is now I’m more interested in working on this new thing then the 3 part story I wanted to do previously.
Like it completely stole me from the thing I was supposed to be doing. Giving me lack of respect for my own concepts as I just go with what ever I feel like doing instead. Which I believe is the best way to operate so it supports the work but comes at a cost. The procrastination that comes with never getting back to it again.
Add that to the fact that I also have too many writing hobbies that lure me away from creative writing.
Leaving me to ponder if this is something I will ever get control of.
Written by Antonio Westley