This week we were asked to reflect on our creative process for idea generation. How do my ideas arrive? And how do I pursue them?
I feel a little exposed and vulnerable writing about myself. But, I understand that this is how we will explore and find our auteur’s voice.
So here I am, drawing a comparison to braveheart. You know the scene where Sir William Wallace is tortured and flayed open? That is the level of vulnerability I feel. A bit of dramatic analogy, I know.
For the most part, my ideas are inspired by personal experiences. When I dig deep and ask the question, “Why did that moment affect me? I find that it connects to an internal wound, a fear, my belief system, a deep joy or something that embarrasses me or even angers me. It hits some personal carnal element in me. Then through researching the belief hooked to the idea, the story takes on a life of its own. Often very far removed from the experience that sparked the initial idea. But the need for the story to be told is set in motion, and it is an internal force that drives me to drive the story forward.
I ask endless questions about the idea (Literally to the universe or write it down in my notebook) and then listen carefully for its response. And I kid you not; the answers arrive in many ways. Cosmic meetings of people, strangers pumping petrol, dreams, or simply ordering a coffee can ignite an answer that opens the story up to its next phase.
Then, in between all the magic that reveals the story, I research the world, the people, and the relationships surrounding the idea. I google; I read books, watch shows that share elements of my vision. I don’t stop talking about the idea to my husband, family and friends. I ask questions related to my thoughts to strangers. I have ways of doing this without coming across as a weirdo.
And then, if possible, I explore the places in the world that my story takes place. If it is in an office, hospital, or gold mine, I try to spend time in these spaces. By doing this, I have found certain energy in the atmosphere connects intrinsically to the story. If this were my acting process, I would be called a method actor. I use my acting background to help me write too, but that is an entirely different post.
And all this time, I stay open to endless possibilities and opportunities for the story to unravel before my eyes. I have to remain open as a writer to the needs of the story.
But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. There comes a time I need to sit down in front of my computer and begin the process of writing. And writing can be daunting! But, because I’ve done all the work I mentioned before and I have my nifty writers tools, the story flows from page to the stage or screen. ( Cross fingers and toes)
It sounds like magic because I believe it is. I am passionate about the power of storytelling. As a writer, my role is to entertain and inform. I look at both parts of any argument, and I’m empathetic to the bad guy and compassionate with the good one. And in the end, I am fearless to dive into the drama of two opposite ideas colliding that spark a story to life.
Somewhere in that meeting, planets collide and new worlds are formed.