writing life


Oops, I totally forgot to post yesterday. I slept a bit late (well, more thinking than sleeping, but still, stayed in bed a long time), then went to the library, then got home and got sidetracked on the day’s to-do list and didn’t realize until late in the day when I got an e-mail about needing to approve comments (all spam) that I hadn’t done a blog post. I guess I didn’t have anything I was dying to say.

My brain has been on creative overdrive lately, and thus the lying in bed and thinking in the morning. I keep getting story ideas in dreams, and when I wake up, I have to rerun and ponder everything I remember from the dreams so I don’t forget them.

Last week, I dreamed a title — in the dream, I saw a book and was immediately insanely jealous that someone else came up with such a great title and story idea because I really wanted to write that story. I still remembered that title when I woke up and a bit about what the story was about. It wasn’t quite as brilliant as I thought it was in the dream, but it was still a potentially fun idea. I searched that title on Amazon and on Google, and it doesn’t seem as though anyone else has used it, so that’s one for the idea file.

This week, I had a rather vivid dream that was essentially a story — something about smuggling babies for a resistance movement as a way of helping their parents escape (infants aren’t conducive to stealthy escapes, so the parents had a better chance of getting away if someone else took their babies). The more I thought about it, the more I started to think there was a story there. Then last night, I had a more fleshed-out version of the same dream, with more details, even bits of narrative (it’s possible there was some semi-conscious brainstorming also going on, weaving in and out of the dream). I think I captured it all upon waking, but I really need to write it all down.

The thing is, creativity breeds creativity. That’s why writers are more likely to have more ideas than they can ever get around to writing than they are to run out of ideas. About midway through any book, you’re just about guaranteed to get a brilliant idea for something else. The more you write, think, and create, the more ideas you’ll have. You also start training your brain to find ideas. You’ll see ideas in anything you read, watch, or experience. It may be something totally out of the blue, like smuggling babies, or it may be what ifs based on something you’ve seen, going a different way with someone else’s plot or character until it becomes your own thing. And, eventually, you learn which if these ideas are likely to be viable and how to develop them into something you can actually write.

2 Responses to “Creativity”

  1. Angelika

    This: “writers are more likely to have more ideas than they can ever get around to writing than they are to run out of ideas.” Snort. So true. People ask where I get my ideas – ideas are a dime a dozen.
    Re. the baby-smuggling idea, true story: in the 1970’s, Communist Poland made people leave behind their babies when they went on holidays in another country to prevent their escaping. A friend of mine’s family escaped anyway (by walking around the fence that jutted into the ocean between Czechoslovakia and Italy); the baby was brought out of Poland by the Red Cross about a year later. I know it’s not the same thing as your story, but it could work together with it and/or provide some material for research into the whole “families escaping without their babies” idea.

    • Shanna Swendson

      There are some heartbreaking stories of people being hidden during the Holocaust who were in danger of being discovered because of a baby’s cry or who ended up smothering a baby to stop it from crying so they wouldn’t all be discovered, so that’s another issue. If the escaping people are going to be in a situation where they have to remain absolutely silent, having a baby with them would be a liability.

Comments are closed.