When the donkey eats the crow the monkey will rule the shrews. I know that seems like a rather odd sentence to start off a blog post about engaging creativity while writing, but it is one of the tools I use to get the words flowing. When I find myself staring at a blank page or the start of a new scene I so often find myself paralyzed at the keyboard, wondering what the best way to get started is, tossing out ideas before I even let them fully develop.
Writing out a nonsensical sentence is how I often break through the block and get my fingers moving so I can get on with the real scene. Otherwise I end up sitting at my computer for hours banging my head against an invisible wall of insecurities.
I also have to make sure Iâ€™m prepared to write. I donâ€™t get to just plop down in front of a computer and start banging out scenes just because I write science fiction. Especially as I start a new work or enter a new setting I have to make sure Iâ€™ve taken the time to flesh out the technology, civilizations, creatures or any other thing that the characters are going to be encountering.
Just like any other author needs to research their settings to make sure their story is believable, Iâ€™ve got to make sure I create enough detail ahead of time so Iâ€™m not spending ten minutes between sentences as I try to figure out whatâ€™s going on where my characters are. Nothing kills my writing flow faster than that.
This also means that I never really turn my imagination off. I always keep my eye open for new tidbits of information. There is inspiration for science fiction or fantasy devices/cultures everywhere you look.
I love going to the zoo to get new ideas for strange and wonderful creatures. I keep an eye on the Discovery Channel and science sections for interesting ideas about jobs or tech that is about to happen.
With this in mind I also like to keep a notebook around. Something about writing freehand on a piece of paper is just more freeing for me, I feel like I can toss ideas around and try out varying ways of approaching a piece of writing or describing a scene.
Conversely a keyboard and screen just feel less fluid for me. I also love to be able to do quick concept sketches in the notebook to help solidify the look of what Iâ€™m writing about.
But the most critical aspect for me in making sure Iâ€™m at my creative peak is to stay connected to the Source. It never fails that when my relationship with God takes a backseat and starts waning my writing dries up and nothing seems to click creatively. I let myself get distracted by the things of the world, and suddenly what were sources of inspiration become black holes that suck my creativity dry.
But when I take the time and reconnect with God, the gates open up and my muse surfs in on a fresh wave of creativity.
Stuart Vaughn Stockton is a website designer by day and a science fiction author by night. He has been building the mythos of Galactic Lore and Sauria for twenty years. Stuart lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Tiffany, their daughter and a slightly spoiled mutt. Stuart was also the basis for â€œS-Manâ€, a SF novelist character in the popular Kanner Lake novel series by Brandilyn Collins.
Valerie: I’ll be reviewing Stuart’s novel Starfire sometime next week. I’m over half way through it now!