My writing has really suffered due to my “real-life” commitments over the last few years, but after an incredibly stressful school year I am taking a break from teaching and plunging back into writing with a vengeance. I plan to chronicle my adventures here as a way to keep myself motivated.
In the past, July was always my “writing intensive” month, where I tried to write a full novel—as many as 80,000 words. The last few years I have been teaching too much to make that possible, but guess what? I’m back, baby! This year I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo and am hoping to write the second book in my middle grade series this month.
But that’s not all! I have a publisher who wants to publish an anthology of my short stories. Huzzah for that! But, ahem, he doesn’t have enough to fill an anthology yet. So I’ll be “cheating” on my novel project this month to write more short stories, which I find much more challenging than novels, to be honest. I have written two new stories in the last few weeks and am almost finished with a third. I have two older stories that I can expand/revise to bring them up to my current standards. And I figure I need to come up with at least two more killer story ideas to round out the collection.
So, lots going on here. My creativity is surging and I am so ready to get back to work!
Now, obviously, as a writer I don’t think creativity is a curse—at least not most of the time. But it can be problematic when your creativity tries to take you to a place where your skills can’t keep up.
Last fall, I taught a class at a writers’ conference which was held at a nearby university. I worked, very, very hard at preparing. Almost as an afterthought, I dreamed up a very silly sentence to use as a memory device to help people remember the various categories of world building.
The few people who took my classes loved it. I had printed it out on bookmarks, which I passed out. But from that moment, my brain was working on a way to make the memory device more visual. An image took form in my mind, as I figured out how to get all the words from the sentence into one picture. The problem was that I don’t have the skills to create such an image. However, I could not get it out of my head. I wanted to have it professionally printed onto bookmarks I could hand out next month when I teach the class again.
Fortunately for me, I have a daughter who is a very skilled graphic artist and image manipulator. When she visited last month for her sister’s graduation, I got her to pose for me to create the central part of the image. Then I sketched out what I wanted, along with explanations of the image dimensions, etc., and sent her a scan of my sketch.
This weekend she worked on completing the image. She complained that it is silly—and it IS silly. Very, very silly. That’s what I love about it. I hope that will make it memorable. She did a fantastic job of making my vision a reality.
Last night I uploaded the files to a printing site and was pretty happy about it until this morning when they informed me that the edges of the image were too close to the cutting line for the bookmarks. Three tries later we had something that seemed to work, and I am so grateful to my daughter Mary for taking time out of her busy day to help me.
I have just received an email saying the bookmarks have shipped. I am dying to see them. Even if no one else likes them, I already love them.