Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Got Creativity? by Susan J. Reinhardt

Has God given you an idea for a book? Today, Susan Reinhardt shares her road to creating a "surprise" novel. -- Sandy

Susan: Words don't always appear on paper in a burst of creative energy. Non-fiction is my first love. I wrote not because I was particularly inspired but because a need arose. So, I set about the task of writing a Christmas skit, short pieces for kids, Sunday School materials, and devotionals.

My entry into fiction took me by surprise. During a trip to Gettysburg in December 2004, I "heard" the voices of the forefathers as fading echoes. All efforts to put that experience in written form failed until my late husband one day declared, "That's it! That's your book, and you'll write it in four months and call it Ghosts of the Past."

Yeah, right.

I couldn't shake his words, so I turned on the computer and wrote one sentence after another. While inspiration occasionally flowed, most of the time the story came out in painful spurts. After exactly four months, the manuscript reached 55,000 words, and I typed, "The End." Ahem, we all know that's never, "The End."

True creativity often doesn't reach its zenith until the editing process is complete. Often, I'll be reading through my rough draft and see how I can strengthen a scene or even an entire plot line. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, my theme develops through character interactions and the situations they encounter.

My experience level with fiction was nil, and it took me eight years (minus a two-year hiatus to nurse my husband until his death) to get the manuscript into publishable condition. Along the way, the title changed from Echoes of the Past to The Moses Conspiracy. It went from 55,000 to 90,000-plus words.

While inspiration provided vision, studying the craft gave me the tools to communicate what was in my heart. It's not an either/or scenario, but rather a marriage of both. God's gifts, including writing, come in seed form and must be nurtured to reach their full potential.

Got creativity? Great! Water it with prayer (time spent with the Lord), practice (all those techniques you're learning), patience (publishing is slow), perseverance (stick with it), and punctuality (showing up when it's time to write).

What do you do to grow your creativity? Have you ever had an idea sneak up and surprise you, perhaps from the get-go or maybe during the editing process?


~~~



Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her novels, The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, and
The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.


Links for Susan:




Blog:  Christian Writer/Reader Connection    http://susanjreinhardt.blogspot.com



Twitter:  @susanjreinhardt

I'm also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

28 comments:

  1. I'm a SOTP too, so I completely understand your process:) Typically I know the over-arching theme when I start, but all the depth and smaller tugs of that theme occur as I write. Only God can pull it all together!

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    1. So true! Sometimes I look at my books and wonder how they came together. :)

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  2. What a beautiful description of what it takes to write. There were so many "tweetables," I couldn't decide which one I liked best.

    Enjoyed the post so much!

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    1. Thanks, Angie! Sometimes writing a piece like this helps me understand my own process. LOL! There's always room for improvement.

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  3. So aptly said... I try to remain open to what is going on around me. And also quiet enough in my spirit to hear the Spirit's prompts.

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    1. Hi LoRee - You make a very good point. God can give us inspiration through the simple, every day things of life. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Hi Susan, wow, Gettysburg. I know just what you mean about the voices of our forebears. That place has really touched my heart. Wow.

    What a great post. Inspiration strikes me at weird times, and often when I need it most LOL. Sometimes when I need some, I say a prayer about it before bed and wake up with the nugget I need.

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    1. Hi Tanya - I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck on a scene, prayed, and either dreamed or woke up with the answer. Maybe it happens because my mind isn't going a hundred miles an hour!

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  5. I can't imagine a writer (or anyone) coming away from seeing that wall of photos at Gettysburg without at least one story idea sparked. I still see some of those faces.

    Thanks, Susan. Great post!

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    1. Hi Sandra - Thanks so much for having me on your blog. It's one of my favorite places to visit, and I'm honored to be here today.

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  6. Thanks, Susan! Love your five Ps: Prayer, practice, patience, perseverance, and punctuality.

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    1. Hi Dawn - I've had plenty of experience with all of them. It took eight years for my first book to be published.

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  7. "True creativity often doesn't reach its zenith until the editing process is complete." So, so true. Enjoyed this post, Susan!

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    1. Hi Dora - Thanks for connecting with me on Google+. If you haven't already noticed, I'm not the usual introverted writer. :)

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  8. Wonderful post. I so wish "The End" didn't mean "The Beginning", but it does all too often.

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    1. Hi Terri - I'm writing the first draft of my fourth book right now. I do a lot of editing as I go along, which is a no-no for most people. I think it's because I don't want to face a terrible mess when I start the real editing process.

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  9. Susan, I loved this: "While inspiration provided vision, studying the craft gave me the tools to communicate what was in my heart." That's so true. Both are required, and they form a lifelong partnership for the writer. Thank you for writing books meant to challenge the status quo and make us think! God's blessings!

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    1. Hi Cathy - So many argue about which is more important, but we need both inspiration and craft. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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  10. Wow, I'm inspired!!!! Thanks my friend!

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    1. You're welcome, Patti! Thanks for your comment. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

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  11. Susan is amazing. She didn't give up on her dream and here is she a multi-published author. I am so happy and proud of her.

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  12. Well I think when you keep your heart and your mind open - you can hear sometimes what you want to write about or what God wants you to write about. I read your book and it was wonderful.

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    1. Hi Chatty - It does help when we keep our hearts attuned to the Lord. I'm glad you enjoyed The Moses Conspiracy.

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  13. It's nice to learn more about Susan's journey. Thanks Susan, for sharing, and thanks, Sandra for hosting!

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    1. Hi Karen - You're welcome. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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  14. Hello, Susan. I like the interview here. Good information.

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    1. Hi Quiet Spirit - Thank you for your kind words. :)

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