Hello all you lovely readers and writers!
Today I am most happy to introduce you to someone very special, author (and super-duper awesome friend) Emmie Mears. Emmie’s on a Blog Tour to celebrate the upcoming release of her novel The Masked Songbird (Pre-order now available!) and I am lucky enough to be a stop. YAY! (Actually we are all lucky because Emmie ROCKS!)
I met Emmie on Twitter back in 2011. Although I don’t quite remember the exact circumstances, I know that it involved a conversation over writing. Since then we’ve chatted about reading, zombies, Supernatural and everything in between. She’s an incredibly talented writer and she’s going to share with us her how she recharges the creative battery. I know you’ll enjoy this post as much as I have!
Recharging the Creative Battery
There’s a wealth of advice out there for writers. Write every day. Write a lot. Read a lot. Write a hundred words a day. Write five hundred words a day. Write what you know. Learn more so you can write about more.
A lot of it is good advice, but I think all of us come up against a time where all the advice out there just doesn’t speak to us. Or we try it and we end up running into a creativity block — or occasionally a real wall if the frustration gets to us enough.
I realized a few years ago that I have an oddly specific writing schedule. I’d go for months without writing fiction. I’d work on my blog or any number of other projects, but I’d have no fiction project burning for my attention. But then one day, my fingers would start to itch. Eight weeks later, I’d have a mewling baby novel completed and ready for revision.
For me, I had to learn that those dormant periods were periods of recharging. I’d read a lot in those times. Sometimes watch a lot of television. I’d hang out with friends and cook new things. I’d work a lot. Sleep a lot. And when the itch began in my fingers, I would expend enormous amounts of energy getting a book done quickly.
I found that I wrote better and more consistently when I wrote quickly. For me, it allowed me to get into a character’s head and stay there. It allowed my voice to remain even from first chapter to last.
Through all of it, though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was Doing It Wrong.
I’d think of Stephen King’s perennial advice to read a lot and write a lot. “Stephen King writes EVERY DAY,” I’d tell myself. I’d point at other writers who did the same and think there had to be something wrong with me, even though two years in a row I’d written two entire novels in twelve months.
I had an epiphany last year as I was plowing through the beginning of a new novel and much like its working title, I felt…drained.
We all have a creative battery, energy we can use to make our art. The thing is, not all batteries are the same. Some are like solar powered lights. Put them out in the sun for eight hours or so and they’ll burn all night. It’s a pretty short cycle, and people who have batteries like that are often able to be productive every day in smaller spurts. Some are like lithium batteries, where you charge them in a dedicated space for a while and they provide you with hours of Xbox love until they die. And some are like a car battery. They work for a long time if you have a functioning alternator, but if that alternator goes, you might need to get a new battery.
There are any number of things you can do to recharge. For me it’s often sleep and solitude. As a quintessential introvert, I desperately need alone time in order to focus on being creative. Time with a book, time relaxing in bed — any of that. Maybe for you it’s jumping out of a plane or going for a run. The point is that when our batteries are drained, our creativity suffers.
There’s no one way to be a creative person. George R.R. Martin takes eons to write a book. R.L. Stine used to crank out a book a month. (Granted, Goosebumps are significantly less doorstop-y than GoT.) Some of us plan out what we’re going to do; others let things sprout organically and see where they go.
As much advice exists out there, I like to think of it as an aisle at a grocery store. You’re not going to grab everything on the shelves and put in your basket, because who has that kind of money? And who really needs eighteen varieties of Cup-O-Noodles? You walk down the aisle and see what fits your needs, take what works, leave what doesn’t.
It might take a little trial and error, but you CAN find a way to be both a creative human being and a non-withered husk of a zombie at the same time.
Happy recharging! (Please don’t be a zombie.)
You can preorder THE MASKED SONGBIRD here! Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!
Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!
Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state promptly spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country. Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie’s childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor. Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they’re lions and tigers.