My creative process is a cycle, which means I go through the same stages over and over and over and over again. You’d think I’d get used to each stage and know exactly what was coming, what to expect, and how to handle it. But that never seems to happen. Instead, I get bogged down, confused, or lost, and only when I stop to look around do I recognize the place I’ve reached.
I’m working on a novel revision right now and the place I’ve reached feels like a dead end. I can’t move forward, can’t muster the energy or interest to do whatever needs doing. My book needs lots of work. I have lists of unanswered questions and details to be decided on.
I’m in a thinking and research phase of my project. This is always hard for me. It’s about gathering the material new story ideas will spring from, and the steps involved look like work.
So today, I am holding onto this thought:
Writing is a messy process that’s equal parts “mess” and “process.” — Julia Cameron, Finding Water, p. 98.
“Mess” and “process” describe where I’m at well.
My book is a mess right now, with parts that need cutting, parts that need re-writing, and parts to be written from scratch. The goal of this re-write is just to find my story and make it stronger, re-organize the mess into something orderly and interesting.
The word “process” reminds me that this whole thing is going to take time. It won’t be fast or easy. It will take plodding, determined, deliberate effort on my part. Most of all, it will take patience as I slowly get a grip on what I have and what I don’t have, and then chip away at the deficit.
My goal for the day is to enjoy the messy process of writing a novel, to inch forward, a little closer to a complete story. With patience, I can cover miles of territory, an inch at a time.
Do you get stuck on creative projects? Which part of the process is hardest for you?