Oh, the Things You Can Learn From Creative Writing – Part VI
Podcast Link: Click here.
Podcast Transcript: Hi, genuine writers! This is Innovative Editing’s Jeannette DiLouie welcoming you to episode #28 of The Genuine Writer Podcast. We keep things short, sweet and to the point here so that you can learn what you need to learn and get back to writing already.
Today’s episode – which is up to part VI of going over some of the valuable aspects of creative writing and what it can do for those who practice it – is sponsored one last time by Proving America. If you haven’t tuned in for the previous parts of this series, this is a story worth talking about. In fact, I took to TV on Central PA’s ABC27 just last week to do exactly that.
Proving America is book 3 in the Founding America series, this time telling the true tale through a fictional narrative of America’s so-called second war of independence, in which we saw our coastline ravaged, our capital burned… and our national anthem written, ushering in a new sense of what it means to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Through this page-turning fiction piece, you’ll get actual battle details, input on two of the most unique enemies this country has ever faced, and the truth about Francis Scott Key – which I think will take you at least a bit aback.
If any of that sounds up your alley, I’ll include a link for Proving America in the description section. But best to grab it up soon, since I won’t be reminding you about it for a while going forward!
Okay, so… Let’s talk about what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it, courtesy of creative writing. Particularly the novel side of creative writing. For last week’s episode, we spoke about how it prompts you to think critically, which might sound rather funny considering how creativity and logic are often perceived as different sides of a mental spectrum. Even so, any effort or expression we make depends to some degree or other on logic, and it’s only a matter of training and deliberate, particular perspective and application that makes it more or less logical.
Did that sound confusing? Let’s use an example to try to explain it better. Take painting a picture: the quintessential example of art. You can slap colors onto the canvas any way you want, and it’s going to fall somewhere on the ugly to beautiful scale. Now, in order for you to get those colors onto the canvas in the first place, you need to use logic. Pretty or not, the picture isn’t going to get made unless you relocate the paint first onto your brush or brushes and then onto the piece of paper or artboard you’re working with. That only makes sense.
Then, in order for the picture to take the form you want it to, you’ll have to arc the brush or brushes in certain patterns with certain strokes. The more patterns and strokes you want to make – in other words, the more detailed and intricate you want to make the picture – the more you have to use logic and understanding and perspective and input. Does this look right? Should I apply more paint? On this side or that? In that color or this? With a fanned brush or a pointed tip?
The more you answer those questions – as in the more input you gather and consider, working and reworking your critical thinking and analytical abilities – the more skilled you become at your art.
It’s the same thing with creative writing. When you ask for input and consider that input and apply that input for better or worse, prompting you to build off of your previous experiences and understandings, the more capable you are of reasoning in other areas.
Looked at that way, it really is amazing what we can accomplish when we put our mind to it. But it all has to come from actually putting our mind to it in the first place. And that’s the angle I want to approach the creative writing craft from today.
Let’s say you’re writing a YA piece. Young adult literature such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games or Mara Daughter of the Nile, an oldie but a goodie that I still have on my shelf today. Novels like those are traditionally about 70,000 words, which amounts to approximately 120 pages of single-spaced text. I think. Off the top of my head, anyway, which could be completely and totally wrong. So let’s just stick with 70,000 words. Which sounds like a lot, I know. And it’s going to sound like a lot more if we’re talking about a different genre, which can call for up to 120,000 words.
Surprisingly enough though, it might not sound like a lot when you start out. The very first day you put your fingers to the keyboard or your pen to the paper, there’s a good chance you’re going to feel like you’re on cloud 9. In your mind, you’ve got this! The story is practically written, practically published and already winning awards. It’s just that good, and you’re just that certain of your commitment to whatever story you’re writing.
That sky-high feeling you’re sporting might last through writing the first chapter or even the first third of the book. But, more than likely, you are going to run into some point where you look down at your word count in the bottom left-hand side of the screen – it might be different for Macs, I’m not sure – and see how far you’ve come and how much more you have to go. And it’s going to boggle your brain in a “how in the world can I do this” kind of way.
Here’s the thing. Writing a novel is no small feat, and you don’t get to start and finish it in a day, in a week or – more than likely – even a month. For me, at this point, it takes at least three months to start and finish a novel. And I’ve had years and years of practice. If you’re working on your piece consistently, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to take a year to write it and another year or two before it’s ready for publication.
What I’m trying to tell you is that this isn’t a short journey. It requires a whole lot of creative energy, emotional output, and time spent. It’s like climbing a mountain. Perhaps (okay, probably) without the physical exertion. But it’s still exercising your abilities. Even if your finished result is terrible and/or you’re never going to publish it, you’ve still exercised your mind. You’ve still worked your imagination. You’ve still made a goal, set out on a formidable and challenging path, and accomplished what you set out to do.
You didn’t quit. And in not quitting, you’ve proven that you’re not a quitter. You’re not incapable physically, intellectually, or motivationally. Knowing that will set you up for success in other areas since succeeding, especially succeeding in a more monumental pursuit, gives you a rush that prompts you to try out other things. It might be writing another novel, learning a new language, trying out for a different job instead of the one you’ve been stuck in for so long all because you lacked the confidence to try something new.
I’ll stop right there, but hopefully I’ve inspired you to keep working on what you’re working on. Thank you so much for tuning in this time. We’ve still got three more parts to go in this series, so stick around for next Monday, when we’ll get right back to it! Until then, thanks for tuning into The Genuine Writer Podcast. Very happy writing and critical thinking too!