The Verdict | Creativity Workshop, Final Update

27 Jul

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.

The end.

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.


14 Responses to “The Verdict | Creativity Workshop, Final Update”

  1. Linda Cassidy Lewis Tuesday / 27 July 10 at 6:33 pm #

    Good for you! I have faith that you will make the best of all those ideas. You are so blessedly focused! I’m proud of you … but I’m also envious. 🙂

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 30 July 10 at 4:28 pm #

      Haha, thanks Linda! 🙂 I’m so excited to work on those ideas at some point in the future. They intrigue me! Of course…um…it will be a while (but hopefully not too long of a while) before I can focus on them. 🙂 Thanks for being proud and saying so.

      (*insert blushing Kayla here*)

      So proud of your 2900-word-yesterday, by the way. This is exciting news, and I hope it’s the first spark of another amazing something in your writing life!

  2. Megs - Scattered Bits Tuesday / 27 July 10 at 6:59 pm #

    Sounds like you’re rocking, girlie! And I’m glad you had fun and learned so much while you were at it.

    Though it makes me curious about those volcano-sized ideas. Especially as I’m a what? don’t have a dozen volcano size ideas going on in the back of your head [and scribbles] all at once? kind of girl. Yeah. Not that productive, least not to complete anything. Though the method got me through 200,000 words in 6 months at one time, it didn’t actually help me finish any LONG, novel-length stories. :sighs:

    And whatever your secrets for pulling off the have your Twitter and get some writing done too would make an awesome blog post. :hint, hint:

    Have fun with the writing!

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 30 July 10 at 4:33 pm #

      Hey, Megs! I might take you up on your blog post suggestion, actually. 😉 Look for it soon(ish). And, yeah, about those volcano-sized ideas – they just kind of smacked me over the head this summer. One of them stemmed from a workshop idea, and the other, I came up with while I endured a 3-hour-long doo-wop gig that Andrew played on his bass (I’ve heard the same set of songs so many times, and I was alone and bored. Hence: idea time!).

      YOU have fun with the writing, too! 😉 Good to hear from you.

  3. Lua Wednesday / 28 July 10 at 5:59 am #

    Yay! Good for you, those are great lessons to be learned…
    Wow summer is coming to an end, isn’t it… Where time flies, I have no idea. And you’re right about ideas being everywhere; once you learn and train your eyes to notice them it can even get a little overwhelming (not that I’m complaining)… 🙂

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 30 July 10 at 4:35 pm #

      Thanks, Lua! That’s exactly what happened with me – I started trying to train my eyes to notice ideas, actually spent time thinking about them, and BOOM. Exciting. But, yes, sometimes overwhelming. (I’m not complaining, either, though.)

      Ah, summer. It feels like two weeks ago that it was February. Oy.

  4. jenniferneri Wednesday / 28 July 10 at 2:52 pm #

    I love that – distraction by shiny ideas. So cute , hilarious. And great pic! A beautiful face with the name now 🙂
    Yes, the snail lesson was a big one for me. It does all add up, doesn’t it?
    Sounds like was a great workshop!

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 30 July 10 at 4:38 pm #

      Jennifer! What a nice surprise to hear from you again! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting – I know life must be crazy, what with your sweet, new(ish)born baby boy!! Oh, and thank you for the compliment on my picture/face. 🙂 One day I got brave and now people know who I am.

      • jenniferneri Friday / 30 July 10 at 5:16 pm #

        the same thing happened to me, but now i don’t feel that puc represents me at all – funny how that is. i’ll change it eventually.
        Baby great! Just over 2 months now….
        Hope you and your ms had a great Friday!!!!!

  5. Merrilee Wednesday / 28 July 10 at 4:59 pm #

    Well done Kayla, and I hope to see the end of these volcano ideas someday 🙂

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 30 July 10 at 4:39 pm #

      Ha, thanks, Merrilee! I hope to see the end of them someday, too. 😉

  6. Natasha Tuesday / 3 August 10 at 3:29 pm #

    I just kept nodding while reading your post. I felt much the same way — but you expressed it far better than I did. I love your thinking on shiny ideas. They cropped up like crazy during the workshop, didn’t they?

    • Kayla Olson Tuesday / 3 August 10 at 3:51 pm #

      Hey, Natasha! Good to hear from you! Thanks for the feedback, it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one feeling that way throughout the workshop. It was a wonderful experience – I wish I’d been able to participate even more fully than I did. That said, I’m satisfied with the shiny ideas, haha. YES, they totally did crop up like crazy for me, and I’m so glad to hear you had a similar experience! It’s an awesome feeling to have, that there are new ideas – even good new ideas! – just waiting to be written. Good luck on yours!! 🙂

  7. Kerryn Sunday / 8 August 10 at 9:54 am #

    I’m coming out of the workshop with tons of ideas too. I have yet to try and organise them or pick some out to work on. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: