My Creative Process (Schedule. Research. Meditate. Write.)
I started writing a novel approximately fifteen years ago… maybe longer. It began with something I wrote about living near the river Thames in London (England) as a child. Then it morphed into a story about an angel, a thirty something year old woman and a magical cat. Recently a spirit bird arrived in my mind and her song was so sweet I included her in the story.
In the spring, last year, I stopped almost everything I’d been doing for work for the past ten years in order to write (you can find out more about that here).
I thought writing the novel would be a quick, easy process. I assumed I just needed to clear my schedule and create the time to write. I’ve had this story in mind for more than fifteen years so surely, I thought, it would be easy to write it from start to finish in a couple of months. I was wrong.
I’ve come to see that coming back to writing has been a journey of recovering my imagination and, little by little, learning a craft I’d not tended to.
In the last few months I’ve found rhythm; I’ve found inspiration; I’ve recovered imaginative capacity; and I’m learning better writing skills.
The creative process I’ve outlined below is one I’ve put together through trial and error; fits and starts; false starts and new beginnings. It’s helping me show up at my desk and write; it’s helping me feel centred and inspired.
Here’s what gets me started, helps me show up and gets my creative juices flowing to produce good writing:
I create a schedule for the day. I literally pencil in time blocks to my planner. This gives me a sense of accountability. For writing I give myself 1 – 2 hours (or more). I always add an extra 15 minutes of buffer time here and there so that I have time to make tea, stretch, answer a phone call and take care of the inevitable odds and ends that creep into the day.
Once the kids have left for school I make a cup of tea and I sit down at my desk. The first half hour of my day I research through reading books about writing and poetry. Or I read something that inspires me and is relevant to what I’m writing.
I’ve read lots of books this past year. One book leads to another, and another and in this way I’ve discovered incredible works, incredible people, incredible ideas. I always choose stuff that’s relevant to my story otherwise I’d get lost on a tangent that would take me far away.
I sit down cross legged, my spine tall. I give myself 15 – 20 minutes because I know it takes me about 5 minutes to get centred and then deepen into the practice. I place my notebook by my side. I light a candle. I create an intention for my practice. Recently my intention has been to imagine how it would feel to be in one of the worlds or scenes I’m creating in my story. The more centred I get the more inspiration and imagination awaken scenes, worlds, experiences and elements of the story that excite me and motivate me to write.
Once I’ve meditated and caught the next part of the story I’m excited to write. It feels easy to sit down and write what I’ve experienced through meditation. In this way I have a starting point and once the words are flowing an hour or two passes before I’m ready for a break.
And so my process is as simple as this:
What does your creative process look like? Let me know in the comments below!