Is it really possible that the Creativity Workshop is coming to a close? Has summer really flown by so fast?
Yes. Yes it is, and yes it has.
Though my workshop participation dropped to dormant-volcano-level¹ during the last half, I took away some valuable lessons from this experience.
Ideas? Are everywhere. This workshop trained me to notice them so well that I got overwhelmed by all the ideas that started popping up. Currently, I have ideas for a follow-up to my WIP, a separate trilogy, a totally separate book that may or may not lend itself toward a sequel or two, and a handful of on-paper-but-not-quite-started ideas for short stories. This is the primary reason my participation level dropped — I had to slow down before I let the ideas eat me. Which brings me to…
Shiny ideas are fun! But dangerous. It’s great to have ideas. What’s not so great is to try to work on them all at once. For me, anyway. My so-major-it-needs-to-be-in-all-caps-MAJOR project of the summer has been diligent effort towards completing this third draft of my WIP. It’s my priority, and it’s rocking. (It’s challenging. And still needs work. But rocking, nonetheless.)
However: what with my pursuit to hone my idea-catching skills, shiny things keep distracting me. And not shiny as in crumpled-up-aluminum-can-on-the-side-of-the-road shiny — rather, gems-in-a-J.Crew-necklace shiny. Which is to say, enticing and nearly impossible to avoid.
I spent one long, enthusiasm-laden Saturday night organizing the HUGE ideas I had. Even with the intent to a) merely summarize the ideas so they’d be waiting on the other side of the MAJOR project, b) not be distracted by the shiny, and c) be chill about it so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed, I so totally got overwhelmed. It wasn’t physically draining², but it was mentally draining to try to think about three separate (volcano-sized) ideas simultaneously. Which is why people probably don’t try to write three separate (volcano-sized) ideas simultaneously (even simple outlines) in the first place.
Snail, but steady. I started the summer as a snail — steady and slow. I’m pleased to report that I’ve kept the steady, but ditched the snail speed in favor of something more akin to waddling-goose speed. (By this, I mean faster than a snail, slower than a puma.) The major area of growth that contributed to this? My much-improved ability to focus when I sit down to work. Conquering distractions took work, but after weeks of working on it, I’ve become SO. MUCH. MORE. PRODUCTIVE. so much more often.
At first, I took the command-Q-to-Twitter-and-all-browsers approach. Um. That worked out about as well as that time I tried to give up lattes. And we all know how much I love my lattes.
What I ended up with was the how-many-cupcakes-can-start-and-STAY-on-my-counter approach to Twitter/blogs/you name it. (As opposed to the eat-all-the-cupcakes-right-now-and-what-the-heck-make-my-latte-a-breve approach.) This ended up working well. I learned how to keep Twitter open, but not give in to its wiles. Now I have a nice, friendly, have-a-cupcake-but-keep-the-figure relationship with Twitter, and it’s awesome. There are writers and resources at my fingertips, along with a manuscript that’s all the better for it (instead of suffering a death by sugar overload or neglect).
This post is long enough.
I learned a lot. Things are going well. Now, I’m working on being productive AND being a consistent blogger again. As of today, my third draft is 47.8% finished. Perhaps I’ll bore you with my (geektastically awesome) progress chart system someday soon.
And a beginning.
¹I had tons of ideas bubbling, lava-like, beneath the surface. But to an observer’s eye? The last few weeks probably looked kinda like a dead mountain.
²Okay, so confession, it kind of was.