I am a true night owl, and that’s when my stories come whispering in my ear. I wrote last time about cultivating stillness in a world consumed by motion—we’re always going somewhere. But I believe strongly in stillness because that’s where both self-awareness and creativity come from.
Last night, I sat with my notebook and I waited. And, much to my surprise, a story I haven’t picked up in a while came wandering by. It’s a light paranormal romance, something very different from the often quest-based stories I usually write. But I couldn’t get the romantic arc quite right; something was off. Last time I worked on it, I expanded the story by about 10K to give the characters’ romance room to grow. But I realized it was missing something, some big sacrifice that allows the characters to come together. They didn’t really give up anything; things just sort of worked out in time. And last night I figured out a way to solve that problem, one that rose organically from what’s already on the page.
Stories whisper. Sometimes it feels like a hundred characters chatting away, a din of voices. And other times, in the hour after midnight or the hour after dawn, a character sits down, pours himself a cup of tea, and begins to tell you his story.
And that’s when the magic happens.
- Do something writing-related every day, seven days a week: journal, write a poem, take notes on a story, read a writing book, brainstorm, etc. Lots of brainstorming, and continuing to work my way through Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance by Julia Cameron.
- Reconnect with my spiritual practice. Started reading The Art of Bliss by Tess Whitehurst, which is all about applying the Bagua of Feng Shui to your life and your home.
- Start a regular yoga practice. Nope. I’m hoping after the holiday craziness settles to pick this one back up. But between holiday prep, hubby being crazy busy with the end of the semester, and a new puppy, I’m not finding much room for yoga.
- At least twice a week, explore another creative outlet, anything from scrapbooking to cooking to home decorating or Feng Shui. Can I count Tess Whitehurst’s The Art of Bliss here, too?
What about you? When do your stories and characters whisper to you? How do you make space to listen? Do you journal, or just sit down at the keyboard and type away? Or do your characters shout?