Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big projects

Nothing makes me feel more connected to my creativity than having a big project going on. Each morning when I sit down to the computer, I know exactly what to work on and I sit with the work in a different way. That deep sense of ongoing involvement in my creative life is a source of great meaningfulness and satisfaction to me. 

When I’m not working on the project, I think about it. At odd moments (in the shower, on the treadmill, driving to an appointment), I’ll get insights or ideas or solutions to problems on the project. Today when I was walking my daily mile in the neighborhood, I realized I needed to review the personality of a main character because I wrote about her in one part of the novel at one time and the second part many months later and I'm not sure that she's enough the same. Because I'm immersed in this big project, I'm with the characters often during the day. 

While you may want to play small in your creative writing at first, consider taking on a big project. Remember it isn’t the product that’s important, it’s the process, and a big process is way more fun than a little one.

Some ideas for big projects:
1.    Write a series of poems on a topic rather than just one. Determine the number of poems in advance. When you’ve written all the poems, see how they fit together into a whole. Consider creating a chapbook of them (a self-published collection).
2.    Write a novel from a prompt. All three of the novels I’ve written started out as 10-minute prompts about fictional characters. Each time I knew it was an intriguing start to something. I wanted to know what happened to these people. How they got to this moment and what happened after. Don’t know anything about writing a novel? Who cares? You can always learn. The apprenticeship continues.
3.    Hone your dialog skills by writing a play. Write a trilogy of them.
4.    Write the libretto for an opera or the script for a musical play. Team up with a song-writing friend and go for the whole production. 
5. Fascinated by a historical character. Start researching a biography or a historical novel.
6. Write a series of personal essays on a subject dear to your heart.