Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Progress! Kind of.

Last week we talked about focus, Squiders, and my lack of it lately. I am pleased to say I am getting somewhere now! Well, sort of.

I was somewhat waylaid bad a nasty bout of vertigo over the weekend, which was not fun and seems to be lingering a bit, though it’s mostly gone at this point. I’ve also got a bit of headache, but I’m not sure that’s related.

But other than that, progress! But not necessarily related to writing.

As we talked about last week, I had four goals for June, only one of which got done while the other three had minimal progress. As a recap:

  1. Write and edit a short story for an anthology, due July 15.
  2. Get to the conflict remapping stage of the edit/revision on the first draft of my Trilogy book one.
  3. Finalize the new description for Shards.

You might also remember about three weeks ago when I said the sewing bug had come a-biting. You might also also remember that the larger, mobile one is out of school and we are all going insane.

That’s important.

So, where have I made progress? Well, I have made some writing progress.

  1. I’m at about 7K for my story, which is probably about 60% done. I’ve been writing about 1K a day on it, so I should hit the deadline on Friday.
  2. One of the first steps that I do on the revision stage of a book is to look at all the characters and make notes for tweaks/identify issues that need to be fixed. This is a high fantasy trilogy, so there are a lot of characters. I am finally done with that. I’m now ready to start tackling plot issues (of which there are many).
  3. I sent the hopefully final version out to the two people who have been helping me. Unless they come back with something major, this is probably done. Yay!

On the sewing front, I took the smaller, less mobile one to the fabric store on Friday, where we bought patterns, fabric, and necessary accessories. The larger, mobile one and I have been doing crafts, trying to do it daily for our own sanity. So today we finally put our fairy house out in the garden (we’ve been working on for about a month) since we got the furniture in the mail, and we also made fabric bracelets, which was a bit of a fail, since mine are too big and his is too small. Alas. Here’s pics, though.

Fairy House

Fairy House (hard to see furniture, but it’s there)


Space and Trees, two of my favorite things

Man, the captions look terrible on this platform. Blegh.

Gotten anything useful done lately, Squiders?


Spurts of Creativity

I’ve had this blog a long time, Squiders–six years this August–and so sometimes it’s hard for me to remember if I’ve talked about something before, and sometimes a scan of the archives is not helpful if it’s a topic without clear key words.

Anyway, I feel like we’ve talked about this before, but I can’t find it anywhere, so maybe I just imagined it. Or maybe I talked about it elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe I thought about it in my brain, and never actually wrote it down yesterday.

Wait–no! I found it! I’m not crazy ahahahahahaha


So, we’ve talked in the past about how writers tend to have other creative hobbies besides just writing. The example I used at the time (for me personally) was theater, and we talked in the fall about that too when I tried out for Into the Woods. But lately I’ve found myself drawn back to a different creative love, a deep dark secret that had risen back into the light after a long sleep.

And that is…sewing.

But it is a new kind of sewing. You see, in the past, I’ve primarily done costumes–from 2007-2011 ish I was big in the cosplay community. I spent many hours sewing costumes, learning all sorts of techniques. I taught myself how to modify existing patterns as well as draft my own. I learned how to attach intricate designs, make my own boots (ick), and even attempted armor (also ick). I learned how to properly wear a wig, how to bind, how to make props. It took a lot of time, which is probably why I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done in that time frame.

(I find that working on a different creative hobby can help your writing in the long run, but it’s really hard to do creative activities at the same time.)

(Also, if you want to see my costumes, you can look at my profile over yonder.)

But I don’t feel like making costumes right now. I’ve had vague inklings in that direction–things along the lines of doing whole family cosplays now that I have children to exploit. But nothing definite and nothing that I’m itching to work on. (Two years ago I designed and almost made a fairly complex Fire Emblem costume–Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG series from Japan, and I really dig the character designs, so I love making costumes from it. They’re hard, but I always learn new things. Also, the games rock and I really enjoy them too, so it all works out.)

Instead, I feel like…making clothes. Mostly dresses and shirts. Hats and arm warmers and fabric bracelets. Before, I always shied away from making clothes. What was the point? You could just go out and buy something if you needed something. Costuming was different, because you had to match a specific look. A shirt was a shirt. I did make a t-shirt once as part of a knit class, which was a very useful skill to learn, though I wasn’t wild about the shirt, and I did “upcycle” a couple of shirts out of dresses, but that was it in the clothing department.

Now, though…

But will I actually get to sewing? Maybe. It requires a lot of work–a pattern (and modifications, because I am about eight inches taller than the average woman), fabric, laying everything out. I don’t even know if my sewing machine still works. I haven’t touched it since early 2012, I’m pretty sure. And it will take time away from my writing.

But maybe that’s okay? Do a project or two, get the itch out of my system. Writing hasn’t been feeling so great lately. I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, that I’m just working and working and not getting anywhere. I am, but it doesn’t feel like it.

What’s your creative fallback, Squiders? Any thoughts on sewing (and sewing clothes specifically)?

(If you’d like, you can check out my new sewing board over at Pinterest.)

Dramatic Interlude

No landsquid today, Squiders–my holiday weekend was overstuffed (pun intended, haha) and I’m still recovering from it on some levels. Thursday, I promise, and if I’m wrong I shall let the Alpaca have my favorite hat, even though he will probably eat it.

So, moving on. I’ve always said that it’s good to try new creative things every now and then. I think it helps one grow as a writer and/or an artist, helps clear the mind, and gives one experience they can apply to whatever their main creative occupation is.

With that in mind, Saturday I am going to try out for a musical.

Am I terrified?

You bet!

My local community theater is doing Into the Woods, which admittedly I know nothing about aside from it being a Sondheim musical and a mixture of fairy tales. And that Chris Pine rips his shirt off during a song in the movie version (which I have checked out from the library, but still not actually watched).

Am I expecting to get a part, or even make it to call backs? Not especially. I am what I would call a competent singer–I can sight read, have good rhythm, and can stick to my own part in a multi-part song–but I don’t think anyone will ever say I have the voice of an angel. I was an Alto II in high school and an Alto I in college, but I can usually do the mezzo soprano and Soprano II ranges without any issues. On the other hand, I have had a death cold for about a month and it’s only within the last few days that I can sing at all.

Musicals and I don’t have an especially good relationship anyway. I didn’t get cast in a single one in high school, despite being in the advanced women’s choir and also a regular lead in non-musical plays. I was only onstage for my senior one because one of the chorus (a freshman, alas) dropped and they needed to replace her. And I’m pretty sure high school was the last time I tried out for one.

But it never hurts to try, right? Experiences! Variety! Theater-based mysteries! (A friend and I went to see Curtains about a month ago, which is a musical about a murder during a musical, and it was lovely and I enjoyed it a lot.)

And maybe I’ll actually get a part, and then get to sing, by myself, in front of all sorts of people…

But maybe dressed as a princess! That would be okay.

But first, I need to pick–and learn–an audition song.

Have you tried anything new lately, Squiders? How did it go?

An Endless Font of Inspiration

I think, Squiders, that all creative types, especially writers, sometimes hit a point where they worry that they’ve run out of ideas. That they’ve reached the end of useable ones. That their best work is behind them.

(I admit that I feel this way about this blog sometimes, but here we are, two and a half years later…)

Then, luckily, the feeling passes.

It is, however, always a bit disconcerting to go through. I find it’s best, when the mood hits, to think about where you are, and where you’ve come from. Sure, maybe you’re not getting anything right this second, but how long have you been working on things? The first story I can remember writing, I was 8. It’s been two decades–twenty years–now, and if I haven’t run out of ideas yet, why should I ever?

And if you’re really, truly, not getting anything, look at what you’re doing. Are you reading, experiencing, learning? Inspiration can lurk anywhere, from the latest scientific or archeological find written up in National Geographic to the person you see walking down the street, a haunted look in their eyes. How did they get there? What makes their heart ache? What will the effects on society be because of this new discovery?

Hey, that dream you had last night was kind of funky. Maybe there’s something there. Your friend has posted a photo of a forest on facebook that is so perfect it looks fake. What would live there? What secrets do the trees hide?

The fact is, most creative types are also inquisitive types. So many ideas can come from asking questions, and then making up the answer yourself. What if? What if? What if? And the fact of the matter is, there are always more questions. There are always more answers. Your inspiration is out there, as long as you keep one eye open for it.

(If nothing else, you might try diagramming things you like. This is a free association activity, where you write down things that appeal to you as they come to you. My list includes things like mirrors, hidden portals, old keys, labyrinths, ancient places, overgrown forests, etc. And then you can choose a few and combine them into different story ideas.)

What’s your no-fail source of inspiration, Squiders?

A Medley of Arts

I have a confession. I hang with the infamous Ian on a fairly regular basis, usually every other Wednesday, and a lot of times we will brainstorm blog post ideas, which is why Wednesday posts tend to be a little odd or why, if you read both our blogs, we seem to be oddly in sync at times. (Ceiling turtles. Just saying.)

Today we were waxing poetic on our thespian days (well, I related a story about Macbeth’s blood and how the theater then caught fire, and he told me about secret passages and trap doors) and I realized that a lot of the writers I talk to also have a strong interest in another creative venue. It may be acting, like Ian and me, or it might be drawing, knitting, painting, dancing, music – you get the point. It seems like creative people just tend to gravitate towards creative activities, and a lot of time, will try out a variety and possibly cycle between multiple arts.

I’ve also found that they tend to be doing at least one at any point in time, even if it’s not the main ones. Most writers, even if they’re not writing at that particular point in time, will be doing something creative, whether it’s trying their hand at drawing a comic book, planning their wedding, painting their nursery or crocheting cephalopods.

And they always seem willing to try something new as well. Usually the response to someone starting a new project or challenge is “Oh, that’s interesting, I will try it as well!”

Which leads us to having too many projects going at once, but you know what? I think we thrive on it.

What do you think, Squiders? Any new things caught your fancy lately?