FUELING CREATIVITY AND AMBITION
Posted on May 8, 2014
I recently finished the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. It chronicles the creative success behind Pixar from a management standpoint and it made me envious of the work environment that exists at this wonderful company. It sounds like an amazing place to foster creativity and cultivate imagination. It got me thinking of my own relationship with fostering my creativity and how I have changed over the past few years in how my books come together.
It made me see the importance of having other creative individuals in your life, the strong need to undertake a creative project with more than just yourself.
I am an introvert. I always have been. I push myself to reach out to others, but when I'm playing it safe, I pull back and work mostly alone. It's a big reason why I like writing so much. It's just you and the blank page. Or so I thought.
Writing can feel like a solitary undertaking. In a way, that's partly why I like it so much. The work you produce is a singular vision. it's an outpouring of your take on life even if you dilute it through the trials and tribulations of a young gargoyle.
I work a lot of hours by myself on my writing. As I craft a novel, no one else intrudes.
Well, almost no one else.
Enter a fellow writer with a similar creative bent and discipline. Enter Keith Robinson.
He's witty, persnickety and has the most delightful British accent. And boy is he productive. The man writes a lot.
He's been an amazing friend who has become a profound influencer of my creative endeavors. We talk through emails and on the phone quite a bit and bounce ideas off each other as we construct our novels. At first, I was leery of sharing my ideas, but soon realized I had a kindred spirit with him. Our trust in each other got so tight that we wrote Fractured together. And we'll be embarking on that book's sequel, Unearthed, in July.
Recently, our output has even lined up with each other. We seem to be finishing books simultaneously, sending each other the novels to beta read, and then starting on the next book at the same time. As I speak, I am 30,000 words into Overwhelmed and he is likewise at a similar point in his book Castle of Spells. we will no doubt trade books to beta read in July and then spend the next four months writing our joint novel.
What do we get out of this arrangement? For me, I get the chance to grow and expand my writing skills. Keith will tell me directly when something isn't working and I will sometimes nod and say I'll look into it. Of course, as I reread the passage, I can't help but see the flaws he has pointed out and then must move to fix them. He makes me work smarter.
Recently, we have both noticed our first drafts are tighter and running sleeker. Fixes we've pointed out to each other in previous works have been dealt with in the first draft allowing for the beta reader to look more critically at other areas.
Having a peer who works so closely and frankly with you is an amazing experience. It's like having a travel companion who you know has your back.
I am very fortunate to have come across Keith's work and reached out to him. I know with certainty I would not be where I am today with my writing if it wasn't for him.
So I tip my hat to you, Mr. Robinson. Well played. Well played.