Creative Motivations
Comments 12

Taking the Scenic Route: Moments of Creative Clarity

“…The race is not given to the swift…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:11

I am, by nature, a person who is all about using every second of every day to my advantage, constantly working out in my mind how to squeeze as much into a moment of productivity as I possibly can.

I like to map things out in order to ensure that I have taken the shortest route but achieved the greatest return. I especially held this way of thinking in the world of my fiction writing.

So when I set out for the third time in my writing career to complete the writing of a novel in thirty days, the first thought, besides what I would write about, was in how many words would I need to produce in a day.

If you do not know, what makes a novel an official novel is the word count. This is the same with Novellas, Short Stories, etcetera. To have a novel, your manuscript must be made up of 50,000 words or more.

Trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

When I sat down on June 1st, 2014, I felt my nerves pinching away at me, screaming for me to make 3,000 words. Why? So that by the end of June I would not only have achieved novel status, but I would be finished the story I was working on in totality.

It sounded like a good plan, great plan if I am honest. But what I have realized is that rushing and counting does not for a strong storyline make. Actually, by focusing more on the word count goal and not the actual creative process, I felt my lines of creativity constricting under the unnecessary pressure I was applying.

Being a person redeemed by the blood of Christ, I often pray, and turn my movements over to Him and rest in His favor as a result. So from the beginning of that writing process, I could hear His voice saying, “Don’t force it. The story will come to you.”

My writing of  Ascension Graveyard (my still current WIP) ended up revealing to me that TRUST is a VERY large part of the creative process, and trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

My rushing was hindering me from allowing this story to truly tell itself. Cutting corners and cramming in masses of words for word’s sake was only making a mess. My rushing toward the goal was getting me nowhere fast.

Since then,  I have slowed down.  Ascension Graveyard has truly taken me on a scenic route, so much so that it is doing more brewing in my imagination than pouring through my fingers onto a keyboard.

I do not have the “desired” word count (yet) but what I do have is a solid plot that I am proud of. I can finally see the characters, get to know them and empathize with them in a way rushing would not have allowed.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because this is what the Creative process is all about. It’s not punching a clock, not compiling data, not reaching a status just so you can say you have one. Rather it is about basking in the picturesque natural beauty of what comes from within when you take your time and create something from your heart.

I have learned that this is indeed true. My art, my writing, is indeed witness to this and I have the Lord Jesus Christ to thank for that.

*Revised from June 2014

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

This entry was posted in: Creative Motivations

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The Founder and Voice of I Came For The Soup/ICFTS Creative Enc. Candice Coates is a Fiction and Non-Fiction Writer, jumping from genres ranging from Speculative Science Fiction and Fantasy to Comedic Clean Read Romance and Suspense, all with touches of her Christian faith. She is a lover of Ireland, languages, tea, and just about anything with pistachios. When not writing she is creating visual art, or new designs for her handmade polymer clay jewelry line, Shizen Brook.

12 Comments

  1. Words of wisdom. The story is the most important part and if you are outside of it, looking at word count or any other aspect, you are not inside it, where a writer needs to be. To convey true passion for and in your characters, you have to walk with them every step of the way. You have to live and breathe their story.

    And greater energy DOES come from the Universe and God, and trusting the process allows that energy through. Doubting it never works. But trust and love? Works every time. 😀

    I love how Ascension Graveyard is going. I think you have an excellent and special story on your hands. I think that the word count will look after itself. 🙂

    • This revelation is a big part of growing not only as a writer but as a person. I realize that having to control everything is the evidence of lack of trust, same way a fever is evidence of infection. Both are deadly. It gets a bit shaky reminding myself to just keep kicking my feet and tread water when what I want to do is count, and push, control and force.

      I am glad for the process however. The story that the characters are telling me is far superior to the one I had imagined originally. Who Jorn is, who Etta is, the relationships and the lack of communication, this is their story. I am sure you will understand when I say their personal stories are precious as they are real people to me. I am so glad to be able to tell it.

      • YES! I’ve had the same, where the story has taken me to places I never expected it to reach and become so much richer and better for trusting the process. I am SOOOO with you on this! 😀

      • I am being to believe that you can tell when a writer has forced their story. I definitly don’t want that for any of my pieces. I would love to be able to write “The End” by the end of June 30th but if not that is ok, just as long as the flow is right and the characters have said what they needed to say.

      • Yes, a forced story shows. I agree with your approach. If you make it in time, great, if you don’t, you don’t, but the story comes first. That way, you’re showing respect for yourself, your work, your talent AND your characters and story, too. That matters.

      • Its taking some honest effort to be at peace with that (the possibility of not reaching my set goal) but there are benefits to this way of things. I would rather write this story once (not including revisions and editing) and have taken a little longer than expected than rush through it and have to write it several times over.

        You recently posted about a deadline having to be pushed back in your work, and you seemed at ease with that. I am learning 😉 But still I hope to reach my goal! lol

      • I can understand that, I would like to, too! 🙂

        I took the same approach as you did. I realized that while I was “out here” fretting about my schedule, I was not “in there” working with my characters from their perspective. As worrying about being late was not helping any, I ditched worrying. I have made great progress since then, but have nevertheless postponed the publishing date by three months.

        These things happen. I’m not a person ever to be late, so it stings, but I know it will be a better book for it. Anyway, I know that once it’s out, everyone will forget that it was ever late, whereas if I published an inferior work, no one would forget it! I sure don’t want that. 😀

  2. Trust is a huge part of the process. I think most writers block comes from our own expectations, assumptions, or judgements getting in the way, and not listening to the story or the characters. There’s what we want the story to be, and there’s what the story wants itself to be. You may spend more time trying things out or doing research than actually writing.

    • I have found this to be true lately. Last years novel for June turned out to be a series that I am still writing. I wanted it to be one book. Some of the characters changed races on me. AG is really taking its time but I find that it is worth it. I think being able to listen to the characters tell their story is a sign of maturity as a writer. The same goes for art. As my eldest sister said “Your art is a live and organic, let it grow as it pleases.”

  3. Pingback: Taking the Scenic Route: Moments of Creative Clarity — I came for the soup… – SEO

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