Tag: What Inspires You

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My Creativity is Currently in the Warehouse (13)

August 9, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

I’m on a Warehouse 13 marathon right now. Even though we’re watching episodes we’ve seen, starting at Season 1, Episode 1, I still love it. That’s the great thing about stories you love. You can enjoy them over and over again.
The other thing about stories you love is that they inspire creativity. Watching episode after episode of Pete and Myka grousing at each other, competing with each other, and always having each other’s back presses all my creative buttons. When Pete asked Myka if she was afraid they were the Red Shirts, and she said yes, John and I laughed out loud when Pete replied, “First, we aren’t going to die. Second, I’m so pumped you know what that means.” [paraphrased]
Over the last 20 episodes, I’ve gone from just enjoying the show for its own sake to thinking about my work and how I can make it funnier, more interesting, tense without being over-serious, adding death and destruction if necessary without a Law & Order feel.  All the artifacts and the things that they do make me think about what I can add to my stories, whether fantastical stories or “regular” ones.
One of the “ah-ha” moments in creating my current romantic comedy series, Strays of Loon Lake (Love at the Fluff and Fold, book one in the series, will be out later this year), was when I decided that a local dog was the frisky father of a lot of puppies in town. Suddenly I had this funny element that I could play up.
In addition to a lot of TV watching, I’ve upped my hours of reading lately. It feels soooo much better to be reading more, like I’m eating healthier or something. I’m reading a lot of nonfiction on writing, self-publishing, and neuroscience. But I’m also reading a lot more fiction than I have in the last year or so. I’ve been reading inspirational, historical and contemporary romance, young adult books, paranormal and urban fantasy books and short stories, some horror, and some suspense. (Trying to track it all on Goodreads, but forgetting to add every book.)
Now here’s a chicken-and-egg thought: in the midst of this burst of desire to pull creative stories IN, I’ve also been writing more, getting creative stories OUT. Did the extra reading inspire me to write more? Or did the deadlines for the two anthologies I’m in push me to gobble up more stories for inspiration? My answer is YES.
Add to all that, my jump from wanting to know more about how the brain works to finding books explaining it to me, and I’ve added yeast to the bread mix. I mean that in terms of rising and growing, not in terms of becoming gaseous and fermenting. Though the fermenting part is making me think of wine, which reminds me of living in Australia, which reminds me of some of the unexpectedly creative pieces I wrote in uni. (Now that I have Australia-brain, my brain is using Australian terms. “Uni” is short for university, i.e., my master’s in creative writing program.) And using Aussie vocabulary reminds me of my friends whom I miss terribly, which reminds me I was going to call Verizon this week and get that international calling plan, which makes me think about having some international characters in my superhero novels, which makes me think of the Cowboy character I created for a short story that went nowhere. Now I just need to figure out how to get an Australian superhero named Cowboy, and his super horse, across the ocean to Michigan where my superheroes are living.
And THAT is how creativity so often works. It’s a bunch of very quick, sometimes illogical jumps in the synapses of the brain that lead from one idea to another. The more you allow and train your brain to make these jumps, the more creative you can be. Sometimes you can even get more creative more quickly.
Many writers have named the part of their unconscious that does this work. Jennifer Crusie calls her unconscious “the girls in the basement” I believe. Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird that her friend Carpenter says there is a little boy in the cellar handing up characters through the cellar door.
I get this “down below consciousness” idea, but I’ve rarely, if ever, been in a basement that made me feel happier than any other room in the building (even the very cool basement of the State Library of New South Wales isn’t as awesome as the Shakespeare Room there; that’s a room I could be locked in forever!), and I’ve never been in a cellar that I wanted to stay in for hours. (Not even a wine cellar.)
I had problems being nice to that creative part of myself. I found myself whipping it to give me more, faster. It didn’t produce much, so I whipped it more. Then I read and really got the idea that you needed to be nice for the unconscious to flow. But basements and cellars didn’t seem that nice to me.
So I created a character named Katie, a little girl about 10 or 12 who plays in the sunroom or in the huge beautifully well-kept backyard. (I live in a small apartment.) Katie loves to read and watch TV and movies that make her laugh or make her a little scared but that always end well. She likes to pretend after the movie or book ends that she is the hero who vanquished the enemy and tamed (rather than killed) the dragon. Or she is the heroine who helps the hero save the day and they live together happily ever after.
I like Katie. I like her so much that I like to play with her even though she’s a little girl and I’m a grown woman. She’s fun. And when she’s making me laugh or making me wonder what will happen next in her one-girl backyard plays, I find myself writing more words with more joy than ever before.
As it turns out, both Katie and I love watching Warehouse 13, and mostly for the same reasons. Katie is giving me ideas about “artifact”-like things I can put in our stories. She wants me to put in more pop culture references like Red Shirts to make people who get the jokes laugh. I tell Katie this is too much work, I’d have to do more research, keep better notes, and I remind her that I too often lose my notes-on-napkins anyway so really–
Katie interrupts me with some cute begging and funny faces and tells me that surely these touches will make me really famous and make me heaps of money and (she knows this is the coup de grace) I’ll make people laugh.
I think about it and then consider the alternative. But what if I don’t make people laugh, Katie? What if they think it’s dumb?
And in her properly outraged 10-year-old voice, she shouts, “Then they’re dumb!”
I laugh and shake my head and agree to try harder to be cute and funny like her. And then I start writing and…well, Katie and I like the results.
What about you? Where does your creativity come from?

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, was released in September 2011 as an ebook and will be available soon in print format. Kitty has also written magazine articles, devotionals, and worked as a magazine editor. She is the co-founder of Routines for Writers where she blogs every Monday. Her next novel, Love at the Fluff N Fold, will be released in late 2012.
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December 15, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Sometimes I find myself uninspired. Creatively shot. My mind becomes a veritable wasteland. Think dust blowing over a dry lake bed, a potholed lunar landscape, a book signing where no one shows up. The next turn of phrase, the analogy, adverb or adjective is on the tip of my tongue but that tongue is tied. The fuel pump’s blocked, the door is closed. I am, so to speak, between a creative rock and a hard place. Giving up is out of the question, so I take a walk to jar my thoughts lose. My destination is the bustling village a mile down the hill from my house.
If I head to the beach, I will walk on white sand that rings the sapphire blue ocean which fills a horseshoe of a bay. I can see Malibu across the water and dolphin in the curl of the waves as they frolic with the surfers. There are skaters, volleyball players, cyclists and a plethora of beautiful California bodies which I would probably appreciate more if I were younger (the bodies, not the view). As it is, all those beautiful people only serve to remind me that I’m not younger.
If I go the other way I walk on asphalt, past rows of well-kept, modestly-sized ranch style houses. This is the route I usually take because there is one house that never fails to pique my curiosity. Actually, it isn’t the house but the rock that sits on the lawn in front of the house that I find so curious.
This rock is unimpressively grey, round on top and flat on the bottom. Rather than move it, the owner of the house planted grass around it. The lawn is beautiful; the rock is not. The rock is arm-span wide and a little more than knee-high. There is a stone on top of it that looks like a dinosaur egg. The rock and the stone could be one of those Boy Scout signs my brothers built in the backyard as if they believed I couldn’t find my way home. This rock is just like that but it points the way to inspiration. Whoever lives in the house makes the rock and stone his canvas and three times a year it becomes something else entirely.
In October the rock is wrapped in orange paper, the stone in green and it is transformed into a pumpkin.
Come December, the rock becomes a granite snowman with a red and green stripped scarf wrapped around its nonexistent neck.*
Ah, spring! Rock as Easter Bunny….
You get the idea.
With a little help, the rock and stone become a herald of good cheer and harbinger of happy times to come. The rock speaks of faithfulness, passing each year with the owner of the house, marking time, submitting to the ‘artists’ vision. The rock, all dressed up, is funny and pleasing to the eye and unexpected. Dressing it up is a public service and I, as a member of the public, never cease to be delighted by the ever morphing rock and his friend the stone. Here is a story told completely and without need of explanation or overt flourish.
I believe in getting lost in a narrative, in creating fantasy, in telling a good story. I believe that around every corner is a mystery or mayhem or madness or magic if we just keep our eyes open. I believe that someday I will walk by the rock and it will lament that it is too hot to wear a scarf during the California Christmas season. When that happens, I’ll pause and loosen the scarf. Maybe I’ll rest on the lawn and we’ll have a chat.
And when my mind is mired, when I feel that I am stone deaf to inspiration and that my creativity is weighed down by real life, I don’t despair. I know I will have to go no further to find either than to walk through a modest neighborhood where I will give a wink and nod to a rock, a stone and whoever is in that house who can teach me a thing or two about inspiration.

*This year another rock has been added and a hat has rounded out the ensemble. I preferred the simplicity of the rock, the stone and the scarf but I applaud the extra inspiration and creativity. Here’s wishing everyone a little inpspiration in the year to come. Happy holidays.

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February 25, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as ,

By Lori Pyne

When in need of some inspiration, a different perspective, an attitude adjustment, I seek out one of my role models. Marty is 85 year old and has been my favorite lunch date for over 10 year. During that time, I have rarely heard him mention an ailment, unless it is a humorous tale or a workaround to a problem caused by an ailment. After catching up on our family news, I listen to his latest projects: a theater production celebrating the First Amendment, the latest artist that foundation he oversees is sponsoring or maybe the status of an exhibit he is coordinating for a friend.

I have only made the mistake once of expressing my concerns about a man of his years embarking on an undertaking which would take at least half of a decade to complete. He glared at me from across the table. Did I think he should just give up and die? Flustered, I mumbled an apology, saying that I just worried about him overextending himself. He explained that one of the reason he enjoys working with the young artists is that they look eagerly towards the future. Many of his contemporaries only exist in the memories of their past or resentfully in the discomfort of their present. Few look forward with any anticipation. As long as he has breath in his lungs and the energy to rise each day, he will work towards his interests. He has lots of projects he wants to tackle and was thankful for each dawn he was given.

After each lunch, I return with a renewed commitment to my hopes, dreams and passions.

Who or what is your inspiration?

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Conference High

August 25, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as

By Lori Pyne

Celebrating first sales and hard won achievements with writer friends from around the globe reinvigorated my soul and reinforced my commitment to my own dream.

The student inside of me gleefully absorbed the various ideas, suggestions, techniques and tips presented at workshops attended. Greedy girl that I am, I impatiently await the arrival of the full conference CD. I know there is more gold to mine from workshops missed. If I am lucky, they will arrive just as the information learned begins to fade.

The workshops did not have a monopoly on information. Much knowledge could be gained while sharing coffee, meals, a seat in the lobby and even elevators with fellow attendees.

Nationals in San Francisco was everything I expected, and more than I anticipated. I arrived uncertain as to my current writing path. I left with a firm sense of the direction I should travel.

I expected to glean more knowledge. Encouragement and confirmation were welcomed bonuses.

Did anyone else experience surprise bonuses?

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July 25, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as

By Lori Pyne

I am making new lists, crossing completed tasks off older lists, and sensing departure time approaching fast. Mental notes are bubbling and hopefully being recorded on to yet another new list of must get done before Saturday’s deadline.

Stress should be my dominate emotion, and yet excitement wins without a contest. Knowing that this will be my last for a while should make me sad, but gratitude and enthusiasm predominate.

Clothing still needs packing. Suppose I such first make sure the items fit before folding them into the suitcase. Would not want to arrive only to discover that the one thing that covers my current girth is the shorts and t-shirt worn on the drive up the coast.

Note to self – add control top nylons to a list.

I can hear the shared laughter from friends of many years and of those newly met. I can feel the moments of enlightenment as something heard numerous times finally makes sense.

Only mundane remaining tasks and a number of hours stand between now and departure time.

Anticipation. One of my favorite parts of the adventure

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