Immediately after I finished the first draft of the Pipe Dreams sequel, I started writing a new book. Get it done, get it out, move on.
If we’re not working all the time, magic doesn’t happen. We read our writing books, workshop our WIP, take a class in human anatomy, thinking if we can learn just one more thing our work will be better. It won’t. Don’t buy into the hype, spend your money, or waste your time hoping someone else can show you how to make the magic. You have to do that by yourself.
Think about sex. Don’t giggle or go to some 50 Shades fantasy, just think about it for a minute. It is the only other place in our lives where we’re naked, vulnerable, and trusting most of the time.
How would you perform if there were a group of critics standing over your bed or a class full of students taking notes and dissecting every move to better understand its symbolism? Would you freeze, worry you weren’t doing it right, get tangled in self-consciousness?
How about this? Is every time you make love with your partner fabulous? Do you think if you only touched once a month that the fabulous would happen at all?
Magic gets made when you engage all the time.
Like a young lover, I was nervous and inexperienced writing Pipe Dreams. My moves were halting, timid, and full of conflicting emotions. I learned a lot, not just about my craft but about myself and my voice. The second book is more open. Writing it, I was curious and less afraid. This next one? Who knows? I’m taking some risks, probing in different places, exploring a landscape of my own creation. Maybe the chemistry is right or maybe this one gets dumped in the drawer where love letters from ex boyfriends go. Regardless, I’m moving forward, stretching my hands in the dark.
I would never position my lover’s arm three or four times to get the angle exactly right when he kisses me. Nor would I repeat a love making sequence twenty times to see if I can make it just a little better. Can you imagine your work as your lover? “Honey, wait. Let me rethink that position. I’m not sure I expressed myself the way I wanted to. What do you think? Should my bra be blue?”
Talk about killing the mood.
While I will learn new techniques, think and talk about what I’m doing and where I want to go, I will not overwork a sculpture or a manuscript. Magic is born in the flow. When we impede it, even with good intentions, we condemn ourselves to mediocrity or, worse, nothing at all.
If we keep doing the same things over and over, we never grow.
What do you think? Is sex a good analogy for creativity? Let me know. I love hearing from you.