Perhaps I haven’t gotten as much done this semester as I had originally wanted to, but now I realize, that little problem may not be as bad as I thought it was. I set out to discover my own skills and behaviors as a creative writer and then, with the knowledge of my habits in mind, be better prepared for the second semester (during which I’ll continue writing). I’m glad to say that I actually have figured out exactly what I needed to figure out. Now that I know my own capabilities, I’m prepared to be much more productive as we journey into the final half of our school year.
One thing that I figured out about halfway through this semester was how I create before I write. I keep a little black notebook in my backpack that serves as the encyclopedia of all the thoughts I’ve ever had about my story. Some of these thoughts have become realities on paper, while others were never added at all (crossed out or erased due to impracticality or maybe just because I changed my mind), and some have yet to be added to the story at all. This notebook has been my greatest and most valuable resource this fall, because whenever I’ve been pressed for time to work on my story, I can always refer back to what I’ve written previously in the notebook to point me in the right direction.
This is not only because of the wide array of random thoughts on my story that I’ve scrawled on the pages of the little black book but also because before I write even one page of new material, I map out the next five or so pages worth of story material in the notebook. From there, I also use the notebook to double check where these pages fit in the grand scheme of my story. Do they develop the plot in an interesting way or are they superfluous? Are the plot points action or conversation based? Once I’ve answered these questions, as well as some others, in my notebook, then I proceed with actually writing the material, which, it turns out, is quite easy when you know what you want to do with that exact page.
Anyway, I was just trying to give you a glimpse into another, and arguably the most important, part of my process. It’s where the true creation is. Thoughts flow directly from my head to paper when I use the notebook, which acting as a sort of filter, lets me keep writing new material into my story. It’s the create in creative writing that really allows me to enjoy myself and take the essence of my story further than I originally thought possible. Creative writing allows us to take a little something of our own souls and push it out into the greater world, sometimes in ways others might not understand at first, but still in ways that feel liberating for us. A writer for The New Yorker wrote a fictional piece on creative writing that expressed the power of the craft. It is called (aptly) Creative Writing.