So this week I’m hanging out with friends from Odyssey for a writing retreat focused on finding our joy in writing. It’s so easy for publishing and deadlines and craft and pressures both internal and external to steal that joy, so periodically we come back together to encourage one another. I am *so* lucky to have such amazing friends who really understand my writing journey and help me along it.
I’ve kept up the yoga, but I’ve missed two days out of the week, which is frustrating. Still, the point of the challenge for me was to stretch myself and sit with uncertainty, and I feel like I’m making great progress with both.
We’ve had a lot of great discussions over the week so far, everything from haunted instruments to life after death, women and science fiction to Daleks and Dr. Who. Plus food. We all love food, and I’ve eaten an incredible number of amazing vegetables (including artichokes with yogurt sauce) that I wouldn’t ordinarily make. Writing-wise, we have discussed character in depth, how to structure stories, how to take something from an idea to a full-fledged story, how to get unstuck. In our process talk last night, I had a breakthrough. My most natural process, as I explained to the group, is all about three-dimensional spaces with mood and sight and sound and smell. A strong space/mood and a character I can really get into the head of is all I really need. If I have both, the story starts weaving out from there. The threads appear, and it becomes natural, and glorious, and interesting. It becomes something I love to do. Whereas, when I start with too rigid a structure, I get stuck. It feels clunky and wrong.
So, in the current projects, both Adam #4 and Secret Project #1, I’m trying to do more of my natural process. Take the space and mood and the character I love, who speaks to me, and let them develop as they will. Already, I’m feeling the joy much more.
It’s amazing how a small creative spark and the support of great friends can make all the difference. Even if I am doing a lot of yoga in the process 🙂