Being Creative-The Dark Side

Being Creative-The Dark Side
10 December 2012

I’m an AAer (Aspiring Author). I’m supposed to use my blog to write about writing. Yawn. There are tons of authors out there who write well about writing. 
I’d rather just write. Out of the box. Hopefully funny. 
But if I’m going to write about writing, here’s my take on creativity: the things that help me write outside of as many boxes as possible, while staying away from most straight jackets, and still keeping The Prince Consort in a constant state of eye-rolling and muttering. (I hope he’s saying, “Good Stuff.” But I suspect it’s more along the line of : “How does she think up this stuff? Tonight, I should sleep with one eye open.”) 

Popular Creativity Advice:
Listen to classical music. 
Check. As long as I get to define classical as rock from the 1960’s or Toby Keith today, appearing personally now, in my office. Or Bond. Or Il Divo. Yes please, them too now in my office. 
Mostly it’s better if the music is either instrumental or in a foreign language so I can’t sing along. Not only because I’m tone deaf and the neighbors have dogs with sensitive ears, but also because ... I forget. Sorry, I’m still picturing Toby Keith and Il Divo here in my office. 

Then there’s brainstorming:
For me that’s known as talking to myself. I do this best in water. So I take a shower where first I tell off everyone and their pet pig, then start talking to my book's characters. Something about water makes for ideas. Not that I’m paranoid about fate working against me or anything, but getting inspired in the shower is easiest probably because I can't write it down in the shower. Except in the soap scum. So I take it back, I can. 
When we lived in Florida, we had a backyard pool. I swam daily and was pretty darn creative. Maybe Santa will bring me a pool. Heated since it’s cold in KY in the winter. And with a little house over it and a lock, because the critters around here already think our deck is a Porta-John, and our screened porch is way better living than those caves and other dens. I don’t want to have to be ‘carrying’ so I can shoot off warning shots to clear MY pool of deer, raccoons, squirrels, turkeys.  

A real popular idea for capturing creative moments is to carry a small notebook and pencil. 
I don’t think so. 
Like my reading glasses (which I now purchase in 3 packs from Walmart) I’ll lose that sucker long before genius strikes. The notebook will be hiding out in the Protected Witness Program with my glasses. 
Yeah. Yeah. I know. I could put the notebook and pencil in a pocket. While it’s true I’ve DeFluffed enough to get things into and back out of my pockets, it’s been too long since I’ve been able to use pockets for me to remember they’re in my pants and operable. 

Another idea to stoke creativity is to exercise, go for a walk. 
Also known as stalking the neighbors. Walking around my neighborhood, I like to check on what garbage is out on collection day. Is anyone putting out really big cans even though only two people live in the house? Could there be a body in one?  I don’t look. I’ll only be disappointed. Maybe. 
I already walk daily with TPC. That’s a lot of fresh air, and I’m deeply suspicious that it’s actually clearing out the ideas rather than inspiring them. Especially since the only thing I’m thinking about when we get home is LUNCH! Besides if I keep walking, pretty soon I’ll be too far from home. 

Another creativity idea is: Don’t watch TV. 
I’m of two or more minds on that one. If I don’t watch, who do I argue with? Any volunteers? Predictably The Prince Consort is smart enough to be Elsewhere. Okay, I’m bored with this one. 

Here’s a creativity idea that is ALL WRONG! 
Don’t do drugs. 
Come on! I need my drugs: Chocolate and coffee!! Lots. Since sitting and pounding on a defenseless computer keyboard does not burn calories, I keep the chocolate in a jar across the room. At eye level. It's a bribe. If I write 2000 words today, and not “I hate this #$$%frumping computer" over and over, I get a chocolate. 
Eventually I’ll stop staring at the chocolate, getting up and sniffing it in case TPC came in and substituted an empty wrapper for that Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate square. Eventually, I’ll type at least 10000 words, 2000 may be keepers. 
That’s worth two chocolates and infinite coffee. 

This one I absolutely agree with. Anything and everything. I never know when something will spark an idea. I’m always delighted when an author’s fresh descriptions inspire me to work harder, and reach deeper for my very own words. 
Okay enough. I’m inspired. The coffee is perking and the chocolate jar is undefended. 

P.S. Today I received a wonderful book that’s going into my prized reference books: by Leslie Budewitz 
Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books), winner of 2011 Agatha for Best Nonfiction

Kath: who in the shower today discovered her feet!!! 25 pounds lost in the DeFluffing so far, and I can see toes, ten of them right there attached to ... well another nine pounds to go to see if there are legs past that tummy. 


  1. I plan to take all your advice - especially the chocolate and coffee! :-D

  2. There you go!!!! Just proves my point, Ally. With your new book out on Amazon, Awakening the Fire, you're the proof that chocolate and coffee are GOOD for creativity.

  3. I ran across this a while ago on another blog (haven't bought it yet) and thought you might find it useful! I thought I was the only one who hadn't heard about this (it's real!)
    Oddly weird and wonderful.

  4. I'm way ahead of you on the chocolate. Can't do coffee but I make up for that with tea (yeah, I know) and Dr. Pepper (that's better, right?). Love your post!

  5. I love Chai! Even without milk. So tea is a big thumb's up. Now Dr. Pepper, I've never been a fan. But I understand the Dr. Pepper fans are quite devoted. Might have to check it out.

  6. Michele, you're a genius!!! I've revised my Santa List!!! That is sooo cool!!!
    Thank you!

  7. How is that possible? I might need aquanotes, too!

    I mostly drink green tea, Kath, and there's not much caffeine in it. But I do pity people who haven't come to the Dr. Pepper light.

  8. Does it count that my daughter is a Dr. Pepper fan?

  9. Sure, we'll let you into the club. I only drink Diet, and only 2 a week, to curb my addiction. It's my weekend treat. Kudos on the defluffing, BTW. That's super fantastic!!!

  10. I only get 'real' soft drinks occasionally now that I'm DeFluffing. Because I do not handle soft drinks responsibly. Like an open liter of Pepsi needs to be drunk quickly before it goes bad.
    Thank you about the DeFluffing. It's an ongoing project I've had to do over and over during my life. Hoping this time to keep control.


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