Phases of Creativity

Recently in my newsletter I wrote about the battle between writing about life and actually experiencing it. It seems to be the thing I struggle to balance the most; it feels like I either spend too much time on my laptop, writing, or I am doing so many things I do not write a single word.

This past week has been the latter. And while I cannot regret the time spent out of the house, being away makes it feel more difficult to sit down and write. It no longer feels easy.

That being said, on the weekend I went to a bookstore and enjoyed perusing the writing books. I have yet to find a bookstore with a big writing section, but I did find and buy a book about writing novels; The Novel Project (Graeme Simsion). With uni slowly, slowly coming to an end (well, in October), I want to be ready for all the time I’ll gain. I’m well aware that the main reason I write less these days is because of the energy spent writing essays, but I do not want to be completely out of practice by the time I no longer need to study. While I am still writing my newsletter and blog, and occasionally work on a short story, it’s been a long time since I have gotten lost in novel planning, writing, and editing. I miss it.

I did attempt NaNoWriMo last year, but somewhere around 12,000 words I stopped due to uni work. I also don’t think the story I had in mind could become 50,000 words; a short story maybe, but to stretch it to novel size would involve a lot of filler words that wouldn’t actually move the story forward. I think one of my problems with any story I write is wanting it to be character driven, and focused on everyday events, but a story still needs some sort of conflict or decision to keep it moving forward and to keep the reader engaged. While many good books do manage this, I have yet to brainstorm an idea that is both ordinary and worth 50,000 words.

While I am not currently writing a novel, I am really enjoying reading Graeme Simsion’s book. It is an easy read, and details the entire writing process, from outlining and writing a synopsis, to planning the acts and character arcs. I am currently focused on coming up with my own novel ideas, but know when I come to actually writing it, I can go to the section in his book that tells you ways of navigating it. A valuable resource when things feel stuck!

I am also enjoying other creative pursuits. I have finished sewing 144 fabric squares together for my Christmas quilt and now need to attach the lining and backing. This is the part that has confused me in the past, so I am hoping I sew it together correctly the first time so I won’t need to unpick anything. I also have an ongoing cross-stitch project and a little embroidery I have just started working on. I enjoy hand sewing whilst watching a movie or listening to a talk. While it is not always as “practical” as machine sewing, it is enjoyable, calming, and satisfying. Also, pretty!

Like many things in life, I do what I find enjoyable for a season, then can easily put it down for months at a time. While writing is the most consistent interest in my life (other than cooking, but only because I need to eat), sewing is something that comes and goes in phases. Right now I am motivated and excited, and find it easy to pick up the blanket and pin it together. But once this project is finished, I imagine I’ll take a little break…

The colder weather also makes it easy to enjoy these indoor hobbies. While I enjoy breaking up the day with a walk in the autumn sun, I am much more motivated to sew and cook in the warmth of home! And even more motivated so I can use my blanket in the winter months. I am also looking forward to making heartier meals in winter, like soups and casseroles, and filling them with vegetables! We love veggies. (Well, we do what we can, and soup is a great way to hide them.)

Having been at my new job for a month now, I am much more comfortable and feel like I have more of a natural rhythm with fitting it in with the rest of my life, while when I first started I didn’t have the energy to do much else! It’s always a relief when something become automatic and no longer takes up all your energy and thinking space.

I hope you are enjoying the little creative moments autumn brings!

Sarah xx

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