Find inspiration of different sorts and build a creative identity

find inspiration

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

Let’s talk about writing… and about using different sources of inspiration to better ourselves and our writings.

Why do we need to inspire ourselves to create? Why do we find that our artistic output to be a blueprint of who we are?

We write what we know.

Yes, I know this idea has become so commonplace that it is seen as just a cliché without any worth to it. It is cliché, if we do not understand what it means, and do not make an effort to recognise what it stands for in our work. It is a cliché if we just throw it around, without fully grasp what it means, and how we need to use it.

But that it’s not how I perceive it to be.

Write what you know stands for: To recognise what make us ourselves, and to see it in our creative work.

And these are two difficult things to do. To know our ways, to build upon them, and to see all of it in what we create.

Ultimately, I believe that we will not be able hide who we are in any creative output. So, it is indeed revealing.

And not just to know others… But this is a different theme, that you can read more about in the post Know Thy Human.

When we practice painting, for example, we put in the hours of work until our style is recognisable. Until we, ourselves, and our identifiable style comes through our work. We choose to create/reproduce images in a way that is familiar to us, and that ends up representing our personal style.

Some painters bodies of work are gloomy, others are colourful, others are free style, or nature inspired, some are impressionists, others are modern, and so on…

It is the same process for us writers.

We start writing something, in whatever means, genre, or format, and as we put in the hours, our style becomes more and more defined. We start perfecting it, even if we do not have a sense that we are doing this betterment process. And, some time later (10 000 hours later?!) we get a sense that our output has changed, our way to deal with subjects has changed, our style has evolved. We have abandoned some things, and took upon us to enlighten ourselves in others.

If we keep at it, eventually our style will be recognisable to the people that read our work.

While we are at our practicing periods, we end up feeling that we need inspiration from other people’s works. So, we go in search of it.

This process of looking for, contemplating, learning and appreciating, other works — paintings, conversations, views, sculptures, books, and all sorts of activities that get inside ourselves, — begins. And then, its revelations come forward through our writings.

To each one of us, some mediums will be more appealing than others. Some ideas resonate more than others. Some mediums might be more suitable than others.

Some will love poetry more, while others find that listening to nature sounds are more suitable for their creative processes.

For example, I have been enjoying a documentary on YouTube that I suggest you to a look: Anselm Kiefer: Remembering the Future

I always find myself attracted to big, dark, dystopian works. Maybe, because I usually find myself engrossed in heavy feelings, whichever the means they are presented in. I appreciate the subtleties of how different people respond to personal history, and how it influences their creative process.

But, to look for ‘knowing more‘ shouldn’t be a chore.  

Most of this research isn’t consciously chosen.

We follow things that make sense to us. Things that makes us crave more knowledge, that we feel passionate, and just need to know more about.

We do not think, let’s go and look at some paintings, or some documentary, and maybe I will feel inspired to write. No! We might expose ourselves deliberately to a work of art, but how it interacts with our creative processes is something beyond the cognitively perception that we will be influenced by it.

And this is why we gain in exposing our minds to new experiences. And not just the good, happy stuff. All the bad and gritty things we will look upon, will come bearing fruits. There’s a most likely chance that the less obvious thing, will not be overlooked. It will not be discarded, even if we do not like it, because it will build upon on some point, that we will find suitable to make in our works. We will use the knowledge, to prove or disprove it. It will become our own.

As we live, we will learn to recognise more of what influences us. And we will learn to find explanations, so very different from what we thought they would be, and to discover other ways of living through other people’s art. And, ultimately we end up incorporating and using knowledge, that we didn’t even knew we consciously had gained. And our work will be better for it.

Our writings will be better at each instalment of novelty. At each knew discovery of something we love, as well as of something we hate.

If we see more of whatever it is that we find appealing, or repellent in this world, we will surely have it seep into our works. That’s why artists always navigate toward a specific worldview, which comes through in their works of art.

People who have seen war, fighting and death, will be more inclined to use those themes in their works. People who fancy a more nature inclined living, will make art using that. People who are dumbstruck by people’s extreme acts, will try to make sense of it all, and so on…

Finding different sources of inspiration, helps us know more about what encircles us and about ourselves, and therefore, define our style in a more personal way.

Let’s open up to ways to invite novelties to us. Let’s accept hardship and struggle. Let’s invite knowledge in, so we may get it all out of ourselves through our creative work.

Please subscribe for more writings about Writing. Help me grow this blog and keep on sharing the writerly talk.

Would you like to know anything about me? Please leave a question below and I’ll reply asap.

Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼

Writing, breaks, stories, movies and social media

christmas breaks

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog… Let’s talk about writing and downtime from writing.

The holidays are here, or they are almost here. Christmas is right around the corner, and many of us decide to align the things we have to do on the holiday’s front (shopping, family and travel), with some sort of pause of our daily tasks.

But having other things to do, or needing a break, doesn’t mean that I am at ease with it.

I have some questions for you (if you would like to share):

  • Are you taking a break?
  • Are you using some sort of downtime from a full-time job to write?
  • Are you planning on write or work on your writing in the last two weeks of this year?
  • Or you are really going full out on vacations and give yourself a break from writing?

Is it normal that I never know what to do? Does it happen to you? Even knowing that I’ll eventually will have to change routines and have other things to do in these days?

I know, I’m on family-duty and full-time on taking care of my child. I do not know much more than that. Events are fluid, specially with a in and out of a cold child.

I know I have a Zero Draft to finish and a New Year to continue Planning. I know I’m trying to think ahead, and do my blog posts in advance, so the holiday’s do not make me feel seriously lacking in the blog posting department.

I know making content for social media has been shoved to the side for weeks now. I’m not on a sharing mood.

Not that I can see any returns in the free marketing strategy. And I’m not on board with supporting the big (unjust, morally degraded, greedy) companies by paying them for an exposure that they’ve built against intentionally. Hello, algorithm!

See I’m a member from the Cheap Generation… In my country my generation was named Cheap, due to some intended public offense towards teens, at the time. We were the cheap generation (original: geração rasca). What they didn’t tell us was that we would always by scraping by… which seems fitted. I was born in the tail of the seventies, so I’m on the Generation X transitioning to the Millennial, and this means I have lived the birth of all this social media. So do not talk to me about algorithms as if it was unavoidable downside.  The objective is to make money from users, and so they figured a way for regular people to pay for ads (to which we have no control of and therefore can’t attest that we are getting what we paid for).

Except if they get paid to flip some political agendas… Or to sell people’s data. In these cases, there are no boundaries to the do it all of the algorithm…

“Your Scientists Were So Preoccupied With Whether Or Not They Could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” — Dr. Ian Malcom on Jurassic Park movie (1993).

Just because you can (make the content, develop the platform, sell data, endorse conflict, influence and power play…), it doesn’t mean that you should.

Well, it should mean that you wouldn’t do it, no matter what. Like that other quote that says:

“With great power comes great responsibility” — Uncle Ben in Spider-Man

Boundaries and lessons learned from the past and all… No.

Which reminded me of another great story, movie format called The Devil’s Advocate, 1997, with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. Not just about vanity, lust or temptation. Power and access to wealth, in detriment of love, health and family, are also big themes.

And I’m still to watch Oppenheimer, the latest take on the creation of the atomic bomb.

Maybe I’ll just stick to the Christmas shenanigans, and movies (No. I don’t think I can do Christmas movies anymore) and replenish my creative well. Maybe I’ll just go with Studios Ghibli marathon. I still have a lot to catch on.

Whatever I’ll do, I just know there will be stories to tell later. I just know it.

And it is as it should be.

What have you been writing? Tell me everything in the comments section below!

Please subscribe to the blog (and other social media channels) for more writings about Writing. Help me grow this blog and keep on sharing the writerly talk.

Would you like to know anything about me? Please leave a question below and I’ll reply asap.

Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼

Did you say 50 000 words and 3 books?

writing the shapeshifters

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog… Let’s talk about writing.

November came and went, and so did NaNoWriMo. You know, the challenge where we corner ourselves into writing 50 000 words in one month, and then get pretty upset when that shit doesn’t happen.

This year, I came up half short on the word count — 25 400, was the tally at Nov.30th.

But there’s no problem AT ALL.

The previous book took two NaNoWriMo’s to get to it’s “final” form, so I’m kind of used to taking a really long time in completing a writing project.

I’m currently working on my second novel for The Shapeshifters World. First book took three years in the making and it’s pretty much done. Just a bit of fiddling after the third book is complete, so that I can erase the unforeseens. Yes, I am a detail tweaking maniac, but I intent to produce the best book I can, so… to tweak it is.

At this point in time the status of the situation is:

The Shapeshifters #1 (which has a secret book title only to disclose if I’ll manage to publish) is complete and I’m very happy to have finish it. Truth be told, I did not imagined it could be such a arduous ride. And it is subject to final tweaks, as previously mentioned.

The Shapeshifters #2 (also book title is a secret) is on the way, almost halfway written, on his zero draft. It has diverted from the initial idea plot wise, but these characters have been talking to me… And I will listen! We should listen to our work (tip for future me) before it starts talking in batshit mode and get us stuck on a “and now what?!” type of conundrum.

The Shapeshifters #3 is also growing. Initial plots and plans have altered, and grew a bit, as it should. But this one is a future me problem, so… onward.

So, this is the plan, for now: just keep going.

To be able to write this story has been something very powerful. Time, effort, skills, learning… it all enters the pot before something (a book) can come out of it. I have been playing with some fears, some stories, some happenings, and it’s one hell of a ride home.

To find my Home in my Writing, and make it my Work, is a magical force, made of all the on goings, the smooth, the tempests, the it is what it is moments.

And it’s all worth it.

What have you been writing? Tell me everything in the comments section below!

Please subscribe for more writings about Writing.

Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼

Writing Journal Entry: Words for January

word for January

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog!

Today I want to experiment with a new kind of blog post. Something in the lines of the traditional blog entries from the beginnings. Kind of like a journal entry… Tell me what you think in the comments below, if this is interesting enough for a blog post.

This is the Writing Journal Entry for January 2023

… and hopefully I’ll be writing more of these as I go along. January has been a tough month. You might say “as they all are”, to which I don’t agree.

There are events, or clusters of events, that do change everything at once and that throw us off course. And even though these events have a huge impact in my life and, consequently, in my writings, they don’t relate to it per se, so I won’t be sharing those here (those will go into the proper paper journal).

But I do want to do a profound review of what this January has been and what it means to me to work on these projects.

I have started this year putting into paper my goals for my writings. Creating and sharing the free workbook Plan Your Creative Year Workbook for 2023, was part of my personal efforts to create some balance in my life, and keep myself aware of my ongoing writing projects, as well as reading and mind-growing projects. This was important for me, it has helped me cope with the always latent overwhelming feeling of having so much to do, and not controlling the creative output as I envision doing, among other more distasteful things. To be an author and to show up for it, whatever the situation, has costs and it takes a big toll on our health. All of our health.

Again, this is the link for the free download… [No dropbox account is needed to download it] It’s never too late to draw some plans.

During January I have been pondering about what I want this blog to be really about. Not that I haven’t thought about it before, or made my kind of impromptu planning of it, because I have and I did.

This blog’s service will remain aligned with my will to share more about themes related to Writing, in a broad sense of this area of expertise.

I just keep depositing high hopes in this little corner of the web, and working on it as a kind of repository of ideas about the writing practice, and what it entails in this world of speedy images and an important need for the right words.

In January, this Writer’s blog saw a few of my favorite themes:

It might seem weird but I’m pretty proud of these blog posts. I do love to write in this format/genre and about the craft. 

To me, writing exists in a full spectre, and each writing project has its form, function and gift associated with it. Blog writing is just one piece of the large array os pieces that make this puzzle.

As for Long Fiction Writing efforts:

January was a month for the ‘The Shapeshifters’. I have defined some goals and I’m keeping my word on it. As times passes, and I keep attentively looking at The Shapeshifters #1, I notice other things I need to take care of.

It’s not just about writing the manuscript and crafting the story as I want it to be: as a good starting point of a series… It’s also about the vision for the whole series, the proper way to do other non-related writing work, the acceptance of what I can’t change and the going with my gut while discovering these stories inside me.

I have set a few goals for book #1 and #2 and I’m keeping my word on those. But also, I’m finding that I need to do other exploratory works on these and, even change some things on the first book.

This is my first series materialising itself. I have written other projects that were thought as series but this one is my first full out attempt right at doing so. And this is fun and scary at the same time.

And not just because is my first serious attempt at writing a series but also being out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I have chosen some things for this story that will need a careful editing process and I keep finding things to stress about.

Short-Fiction and Poetry

I always have parallel projects on these formats. There are goals set for some works in progress, but it has been six months since I have devoted the time to constant practice.

I do not like it. Nop.

In my defense, I have been channeling a lot of energy into ‘The Shapeshifters’, but this should be no excuse for my lack of attention to my other writing practices. After all, poetry has been with me since my teens, and I do have a few published poems and a (very ignored by now) poetry blog.

As for short-fiction…

Again, I’m always working on something. This is the elected format for the current writing contests around me, so it’s something to think about if I want to publish any of my stories through the usual channels.

I have put some of this on hold until I figure some things out.

How can people do it all? Frankly, I do not know. Planning only takes us so far… But this is my journal-type of vent, to put the questions out and give them the chance to be answered in a timely manner. 

This was the Writing Journal Entry for January 2023… about writings and feelings and stuff.

How was your January?

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼