Monday, January 30, 2017

Creative Process by Annette M. Irby

pen and notebook*

I’ve heard this phrase most of my life. I’m sure you have too. “Creative process” is usually used in reference to artists and how they go about either creating, or being refreshed during a creative season, or being inspired to get creative. I never really applied that phrase to myself, until recently. 

We’re creatures of habit, aren’t we? Since I edit and/or write most of the workday, I liked to spend time away from reading during the early evening. But as a fiction writer/editor, I adore story. This means, I relax and refresh by watching movies or TV dramas or comedies. I consider myself a student of story in several of its forms. What I didn’t expect was the exhaustion that happened when I had to change that routine. I hadn’t realized that activity was part of my creative process. Without that downtime/recharging/story-immersion, I was coming up empty during the creative time. I had a void in my creative life. 

Discovering our writing processes, which of course may change over time, will help us embrace them. Instead of feeling “lazy” for recharging (in whatever way, like a soak in the hot tub), we can remember that this activity is simply part of our creative process. 

I wanted to share some of my creative process, and I’d love if you shared yours. Here are some areas of my creative process:

Music—while writing I listen to instrumental music, mostly David Lanz and Jim Brickman. Over the years, I’ve discovered several pianists whose music inspires me. I tend to avoid minor-key music, as that’s not my preference. I recently heard from a fellow writer who was excited that her favorite band had just come out with a new project that she could use as a soundtrack to her current WIP. Something completely opposite (it seemed) to what I’d prefer, or what would work for me. But that’s the thing—we're individual writers, creating original works, so it makes sense that our processes would be individual as well.

Art—I have certain paintings on my office wall. I tend to appreciate landscapes over cityscapes and nature over things that are human made. I also surround myself in themed items. Like the anchor clock on my office wall. I’m writing maritime stories, so it fits. Researching the setting of my current series (beach-front/island stories) provides visual vacations that inspire me.

Exercise—long walks in nature inspire me, and relax me. Prayer walks are the best! Sometimes getting away from the computer is the wisest part of the creative writing process. Our minds will problem solve and/or offer a new insight. Last summer, during the hospitable time of the year for outdoor swimming, I found myself inspired while floating in a pool. 

Movies/TV—I’ve touched on this above. As a writer of Christian romance, I find watching wholesome romantic movies/shows is helpful for inspiration. But I also watch sci-fi and historical shows. I love documentaries. (*gasp—non-fiction) Either way, story (history or fiction) inspires me. 

Devotional time—this is part of my lifestyle, and some solely part of my creative process, but I can see where the kisses from God that happen in my devotional time with Him influence my writing. 

So, how about you? What is your creative process? Perhaps you take a pen and notebook to the nearest park, or coffee shop, or Panera. (*yum) Perhaps you like silence when you work, or do you prefer noise and chaos? How about deadlines? Do they influence your productivity? Panic is a strong motivator when that deadline is drawing near. Has your creative process surprised you, like it has me? Share your thoughts, friends!


Annette M. Irby

Annette M. Irby is a freelance editor and Christian fiction author who dabbles in gardening and photography. She has completely fallen in love with her grandson. She enjoys spending time with her family and husband of over twenty-five years. You can learn more about Annette by visiting her website or her page here on Seriously Write. 

*photo credit: the awesome folks at Pixabay