Life, at times, has a tendency of growing into a massive giant which cannot be ignored, stomping around in the garden of our creativity, trying to make sure every single flower planted within is squashed. Or at least, that’s how it feels at times.
I just came out of a period like that. This entire last semester of my university career was filled with one life giant after another, tracking through the garden of my inspiration, and each one quite effectively killed my ability to do anything I wanted to. Between the pounds of school papers I had to do, job hunting, parental relations, and everything else life could possibly throw at me, I had no time for personal writing.
As a proponent of writing every day, I then had to make sure that I could turn my assignments for my classes into something creative, which was easier for some classes. My Screenwriting course was my biggest outlet of creativity, which was great, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to be writing something else.
No matter how many pages I got into my projects for Screenwriting, it always felt as though something was missing. From my writing, it was passion. I could tell as I read that from a technical standpoint, I was doing great. The plot was well designed, the characters were believable, and there was enough suspense to keep the film going. However, there was no LIFE in it.
I wanted to be somewhere else.
The semester has officially ended now, and I graduated with my BA in English: Creative Writing and minor in Cinema Arts. While I am considering graduate studies, and do have an application out, schoolwork is done for now. I have no more term papers to write, no more tests to rush to.
My creative energy is my own now.
So, I put on my headphones, flipped over to the soundtrack I’ve made for my book, Hope of the Mirra (formerly known as Mikara Falling), and started reading in order to get back into the headspace for writing, and I felt a great weight lift up off my shoulders.
It felt like returning home.
I have never felt more comfortable picking up a piece of writing before, even though it has been sitting, practically untouched, since this past February. It feels as though the words are there, just waiting to be put down. They have no hard feelings; in fact, these words are welcoming me back with open arms. I know, for a fact, that this is the right book for me to be writing right now.
The big question now, is, how do you know when a piece of writing is the right one for you. The feeling I described is one indicator, but that was after a long stint of not being able to work on that project. I have missed Hope of the Mirra dearly, and don’t want to be separated from it again—until, of course, I send it out.
Along with this feeling of absolute elation, this feeling of finally being home, there are many other indicators that a project is right for you. Also keep in mind, one project might not be right now, but it may be right later.
Does your project occupy your mind a lot? Do your characters invade your dreams (or daydreams) and do plot points nag at your brain late at night? When your project is unforgettable to you, when you can’t seem to escape it, that could be a clear sign that it is time for the words to be written.
Does writer’s block not seem to effect this project? Do the words just spill on the page as though they are already written, just waiting for you to find them in your head? Yes, there are times when my brain is just not willing to write due to exhaustion, but at any other times, I can just sit down and start spilling on my current project, at times writing over three-thousand words a day, when I don’t have distractions. This willingness to be written could also be a sign that this project needs to be your focus for now.
Does the world fascinate you? Do you find yourself thinking about the way your story world works, the culture, etc, at what would be deemed inappropriate times by the general populace? I get ideas everywhere, which is why I have at least one notebook stashed everywhere I am, from my purse, to my car, to the bathroom, I am ready for when some new revelation hits. I am also musing about the world Hope of the Mirra is set in all the time, which has led to new revelations about the environment, both from a physical and sociological standpoint.
Do you find yourself wanting to work on this project while you are trying to get other things accomplished? This is another big flashing flag. I have a hard time reading books on writing because as I am going along, the tips remind me of my current project, which triggers my need to write on it. This also happens while reading other books, actual fiction books, and cooking, which I always have music and a notebook accompanying me when I actually do it, and many other things. I would even write during my break from working at Staples last summer, in little fifteen minute stints. I actually got a lot done that way.
I am sure there are many other signs that a project is the right one for you at this time. If the project is screaming at your brain, just do it. Hope of the Mirra is actually screaming at my brain right now, so I am going to get back to it.
~Tiffany “Kysis” Tackett