Currently working on: Argh, look behind you!.. What? Oh sorry, never mind. My mistake… What was the question again?
Mood: Focused as a laser beam
No, I’m kidding, I have been working. Hard. I’ve been composing guest blog posts in preparation for my blog tour to support the release of FORGED OF SHADOWS next month. (Which will be here before I know it. That’s what’s behind us–the relentlessly creeping Time Monster!) One of the interview questions I had to answer was: What do you do when you’re not writing?
I thought about it for awhile. And couldn’t come up with anything.
If I’m not writing, I SHOULD be writing. After all, I have the life many writers long for–a published book and another on the way. To not write seems disrespectful. Guilt makes not writing not fun.
So to circumvent the Guilt Monster (second cousin to the Time Monster) I often try to find a way to make my non-writing activities support my writing activites. Dog walks are brainstorming sessions. Reading is research. Twitter (http://twitter.com/jessaslade) is networking. Buckets o’ cookie dough are much-needed energy. Naps are…well, cookie dough only takes you so far, doesn’t it?
Even my other creative pursuits have taken a back seat to writing. The little sketching I’ve done in the last few years has been of the horde-tenebrae monsters in my books or settings when I can’t quite picture the staging. I haven’t picked up a paintbrush at all. Only my beading has resisted the all-encompassing suck of The Book, mostly because I’ve been making Possession in Pearl earrings–from demented, weirdly shaped pearl sticks–to use as blog tour giveaways.
I’m always glad when I blow off my guilt and sneak in an utterly non-writing project because it was a personal beading breakthrough that I think really opened some doors in my mind when it came to my writing.
See, I’m a perfectionist. Nasty habit, that. Striving for excellence is a worthy goal, but perfectionism will drive you mad. For a long time, I would string beads to make a necklace…and then unstring them because they weren’t quite right. I was constantly on the lookout for the “perfect” bead to complete a given project. I amassed more and more beads, but it was impossible to be sure I had the “perfect” bead because–as many beads as I had–I didn’t have them all. What if the “perfect” bead was still out there? Time to come unstrung again.
Then one day… I’d like to say I stopped being stupid. But really what happened was a poverty-induced Christmas panic. I had decided to use up some of the ridiculous amount of beads making jewelry for my female relatives. And now I had a deadline.
Suddenly, “perfect” was less pressing than “wrapped, packed and shipped.” I learned to come to peace with the pieces I had. And they were perfectly lovely. At least according to my mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, who I’m sure were utterly objective.
Now when I’m writing, when I feel the urge to look for the perfect word, to wait until I have perfectly visualized every element of the story, to rail at myself for being less than perfect, I think of my beads. To be lovely, to come to life, they have to be strung and hung around someone’s neck or dangling from someone’s ears. And I’m the only one who can make that happen.
I think most people have beads rolling around the drawers of their life that should be out for the world to admire. Maybe not perfect, but shiny or sparkly or intriguing or whatever is good enough. How do you support the creativity in your life?
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a pair of Possession in Pearl earrings similar to the ones pictured above. I’m making another pair as soon as I finish this post. Hey, I can’t write ALL the time.