Your work is done, evaluated, formatted, and sent for print. Now what?
Before we conclude this year’s series of “Stages of Creation”, here’s a stage which I do feel needs to be worked at, even after your work is out and in the world - Personal Branding and Marketing.
To be honest, this post itself can stretch to its own series, especially with the changing times and needs among various consumers nowadays. Regardless, something I’ve learnt over the last decade or so, was that despite the changing exteriors, there are key components that still remain evergreen:
Be proactive - even with an agent or a publisher.
Agents are rare in Singapore, mostly because we’re geographically small (together with our reading population). Therefore, should you get a publisher or an agent while being based in Singapore, it’s a foot in the door, but there’s still work to be done.
Your products will sell better if their creators believe in and will push them. It’s the same even if you have an agent or publisher. Meeting or strategizing how to sell your stories with your publisher / agent on the regular not only shows your commitment to your work, but boosts confidence in the people tasked to selling your work.
Be involved in the community or industry.
No amount of marketing and strategizing will be better than being on the ground and talking to your audiences - both internal and external. I’m not telling you to spend your days at Forums or every launch you can get yourself to, but know yourself and your audience.
You want to be in comics? Start going for comic workshops, panels, or sessions.
You want to go into writing for games? Know what’s going on in the gaming industry - perhaps at your nearest game shop or community?
And the most important point in engagement - Listen.
In an age of disruption, it’s very easy to listen to argue, listen to reply. This also means that many creators miss out on a great opportunity to get feedback.
“But what about trolls?! What about people who just attack me because they’re jealous?!!!”
This is what we’ll be covering in the next section...
Be focussed in your personal brand.
The next question would be how? Since half the people you know are artists in their own right, think subject matter, not format or genre.
I wouldn’t say I can give you any answers for this, but here are a few suggestions:
Positioning yourself as an interested member in the subject matter of your choosing is just one of the ways you can keep your focus but also engage various audiences who are likely to be interested in your art.
And now, I leave you with perhaps the most important piece of advice that I’ve ever gotten - You are not your work.
(Even today, I still struggle with separating who I am with what I produce. It’s an arduous process, but a necessary one if you want to sustain yourself in the creative industry.)
Thus, I wish all of you the best.
(Or as what my Game Master once said - All the bestest!)
And that’s it for Stages of Creation for the year. Thank you all for your support and I hope this series has managed to help you in some way or another.
Until next time!
STGCC, IAF, SWF, CF, CAFKL, PopCon, AFA… initialisms that mean yearly celebrations for the geek community.
Now that you finally landed a booth, you’re excited to peddle your wares. However, while these events - independent or commercial - can be great platforms to put your works out, there might be a few pointers one should take note of to make your event experience that much easier:
Simple - know what you want to sell during the event, and know how much stock you have left. Before you do any publicity for your booth (so do this way in advance), please ensure that what you advertise will be available or at least on the table on the day of the festival. Keep your stock amount in check, and let your audience know what’s low in stock.
Get your documents ready - if you only get your passes on the day of collection, then you’re going to make your life a whole lot easier by having your necessary documentation (confirmation emails, forms etc…) ready in case the event organizers need them. Regardless of the event size, your event organizers will be busy - best be on their good side.
Personal Booth Maintenance
Chances are, your booth is going to boast a bare bones set up - a table, maybe a backing board (if it’s stated in your application), a seat (or two, again depending). That being said, you don’t have to have your booth “interior-designed” before the event. However, it’ll be wise to keep key components of your booth setup - table cloth, display platforms, easels etc… - both to catch the passing eye and spread your brand’s message to the world.
Change & Float Money
Many veteran con-goers know better than to go to an artist alley without small change. That being said, there are just as many, if not more, non-con-goers who only walk around with $50 bills in their wallet, or regular con-goers who got unlucky at the ATMs. Make sure you have enough change and float money for your sales.
Note: A quick tip about how much float money or the kind of change to prepare - take a look at how you’re pricing your product and arrange accordingly to common cash denominations (E.g. If your comic is going to be selling at $8, prepare a whole bunch of $2s because you will be getting multiple $10 notes.)
Inter- and Intra-Group Communications
HIGHLY IMPORTANT - especially if your booth consists of works by different artists. Get your stocklists, retail prices, and float information ready in advance as much as possible. Nothing is more annoying that surprise group members showing up on the day itself and dumping a good amount of stock on you when your booth and administration are already set up.
Booth Exhibition / Aesthetics
One of the more effective ways to help potential customers with buyers’ paralysis (too many choices) is to position your latest (or most popular) product either at the front of the table, or propped up instead of just lying flat on the table. Having one or two points of focus per artist or table will help customers help you.
Another popular move is to include browsing copies in your administration - people like samples, play with that point. Just remember to indicate that the browsing copy is just for browsing, we’ve had too many cases of people “running off” with browsing copy because of the ‘no price tag on table, so it must be free’ assumption.
Going to make this section simple:
Safety & Booth Owner Responsibility
Health & Mindset
Take care of yourself during the time leading to and during the event - Conventions and Festivals are incredibly draining, even if you are behind your booth most of the time. Stock plenty of water, get someone to get food for you, pack, take note of the nearby places that sell economically-priced food so that you don’t have to survive on chips.
At the same time, do keep in mind that many conventions, markets, and festivals are also spaces for you to communicate and meet other people in the community. So beyond doing your best to push your products, do take this time to learn from other creators from the industry as well.
Belongings & Safety
All festivals will remind booth owners to take care of their own belongings. That being said, do ensure that your documents, valuables, and your booth money are within sight, reach, and safe boundaries at all times.
For Con-Goers, you can take a look at how to make your con-going life a whole lot easier here.
In the words of my friend, A.K., self-publishing can be summarized into one line, “Uhhh… you create, then you put into PDF, then you print lor.”
There’s are a lot of aspects to take note of with Self-Publishing, so to simplify things, I’m going to talk about the important points - the 5Ws and 1H. LOL.
What can you self-publish?
Pretty much anything that works well in print form. Most of us self-publish the following - short stories, illustrations, comics, zines, chapbooks, the works.
From experience, I’d say that something that can be consumed on the go should be fine.
Why should you self-publish?
There are a variety of valid reasons why we self-publish. However, here are three rather common reasons why we decide to take the self-publishing route, mainly for fiction storytellers.
First - constant rejection. Let’s get this out of the way, shall we? Sometimes, we’re just so sick of the traditional publishing route of submitting and waiting, only to get rejection. So why not do it ourselves?
Second - experimentation. Sometimes, certain artists or writers produce works out of their comfort zone and are unsure about how reception will be like with their audience. Therefore, sometimes these creators will self-publish this particular piece with a lower print run to gauge how well it’ll do.
Third - autonomy. Some creators like having more autonomy over the process, and if you’re confident about the sustainability about your work as a self-published piece, why not?
When should you self-publish?
Once you’re done with your polished draft, after it has gone through beta-reading, developmental and copy-editing, and your final rewriting. Sometimes, we’re not always convinced that we’re ready, but when you’ve rewritten your piece so much that you can memorize the story from back to front, evaluate if your work is ready for self-publication.
Who should self-publish?
Before you embark on self-publishing, please note that this is not the “easy way out” or the “finger to the establishment”. Self-publishing has become more legitimate as an avenue for publication, and what many of us in the self-publishing market want to do is to maintain a basic level of quality within the market.
That being said, if you have fulfilled the below criteria, perhaps you can consider self-publishing:
If anything, be prepared to have a back-up plan - if you’re concerned about a certain level of security, you might want to hold off self-publishing until you have a safety net.
Where should you self-publish?
Any place where you can find an affordable printer, where your audience reside, or where your favourite events to put your work out are located.
How do we self-publish?
Like my friend said - “Uhhh… you create, then you put into PDF, then you print lor.”
Without the above-mentioned TL;DR version, self-publishing is as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. However, there are still a few major components to take note of:
Before we finish off, please note - self-publishing IS NOT vanity publishing. Vanity publishing is when you pay a publisher to design and print books for your own consumption or distribution. Usually, this means you pay for the publishing process, and published copies of the print run on your own.
Those are just some of my tips for self-publishing. A few pointers here and there to get you started. However, you can find out more about self-publishing in depth as you take your own journey - talk to other self-published authors, learn from them, find out what works for you.
I look forward to seeing your creations.
Not exactly unspoken, because I mentioned this option in my previous post. Regardless, this stage will talk about the so-called ‘unspoken option’, because it seems that no one really wants to consider or talk about this option - working full-time while creating on the side.
“But I won’t have any time and I need to focus 100%!”
That’s what I often hear when we bring up the suggestion of working part-time or full-time to support your creative career.
That being said, working on your creative projects while still holding a full-time or part-time job is a completely viable solution, though not the most ideal. The trick, however, is to find a workflow or a solution that will fulfill your responsibilities and your creative wants, at least until you reach a state you’re comfortable with.
“You have to really want it.”
If I get a dollar for every time I see this piece of advice on another creative’s blog, I can quit my job and not worry about money for the next couple of years.
As common as it is, it’s not exactly the most helpful piece of advice.
Pros & Cons
With every option, there’s good news and bad news. Personally, I like to hear bad news first, so here are a few reasons why this unspoken option wouldn’t be recommended:
Before I conclude this post, I’d like to take this section to say that this option is neither the “better way” nor the “less gutsy way”. The most important point to take in your creative journey is to know what you can live with and work with what you have.
Some artists thrive on the uncertainty of not knowing when their next salary will come, some need the stability of a constant paycheck but still want to create. At the end of the day, you need to be able to work for you.
So that’s what I have for this post - stay tuned next month for Stage 10!
Just because you got your manuscript accepted by a publisher or a agent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t familiarize yourself with the options, grants, and paperwork that come with publishing. If you intend to self-publish, this is all the more important for you to know.
Disclaimer: I’m not the best person to talk about grants or options. These are recounts of my experience, especially with the legal and paperwork needed in the fiction publishing scene in Singapore.
Firstly, grants are just one of the many options creatives in Singapore have to fund their works. It is also one of the most common buzzwords muttered amongst artists and arts organizations in the country.
For a country with a community this small, Singapore can be considered to have rather generous grant programmes. Contrary to popular belief, however, the National Arts Council is not to only place to apply for creative grants (There are grants from the National Heritage Board, Media Development Authority etc…). But since the NAC grants are the most popular here, we’re just going to get a glimpse at them.
Grants can be quite confusing or filled with caveats some of us don’t have the understanding (or energy) to go through. While I encourage reading each line of the grant’s fine print, here’s a more streamlined list of which NAC grants might best suit your needs:
National Arts Council Grants:
And that’s just to name a few. You can find out more about the NAC grants here.
Other Funding Options
Apart from grants, other funding options can come into play. Two popular ways include seed funding, as well as crowdfunding.
To clarify, seed funding in this case means self-funded - when you’ve saved to invest in your creation. While this may not sound like the ideal option, but it is one of the more common options - find out your base costs of your project, and see how much you can fund it on your own. This forces you to be frugal with yourself, and also gives you that little boost of motivation to actually think about breaking even (a.k.a. recover your costs). Unless you’re rich, then I don’t have anything else to say.
The other popular option is to go into Crowdfunding. Kickstarter, IndieGogo, InkShares, and Patreon are just some of the platforms many creators use to fund their projects. While some are like platforms for pre-orders, all of them will give you the responsibility of delivering on your promise - you cannot take people’s money without rhyme or reason, after all.
There’s another option apart from these two, though I do call it the unspoken option, since it seems to be the option many artists I speak to don’t even want to consider. I’ll explain about it further in my next ‘Stages of Creation’ post.
Regardless of your choice of funding, there’s going to be some paperwork involved (unless you decided to seed fund your entire project). While each fund application would require different application documents, they seem to always want the following documents. Therefore, be prepared and have them ready (make copies, scan etc…) for any time they’re needed.
Just a note on this - be as concise as possible. You don’t have to be too formal about how you’re describing your project / organization / brand to stay true to the essence of what you’re intending to create, but remember your audience - who probably won’t take too kindly to “too-casual” language.
When your grants are with government bodies, there’s a huge chance that they would like to see your certifications and licenses before deciding to grant you funding for your project. Very simple - make copies, scan, and store your academic certifications, testimonials, and what-have-yous as if you’re going for a job interview.
Following up from the previous point - it’s likely that your curriculum vitae / resume would be one of the supporting documents needed in your application as well. As mentioned in the previous point as well - make sure your CV is updated, organized, and is aligned to your grant proposal. Again, think of this as a job interview.
It’ll be good to take a “trial look” at the Application Forms and note down the information you’ll need before submitting your application. This will help you get all your information ready, especially when with online forms that can time out. Same thing with hardcopy forms that you have to submit as well - take note that every blank has been filled, and make full use of the document checklist before submitting your application. Most importantly - submit your application early or by the deadline, for grants, deadlines are not negotiable (at least when you’re thinking about your chances of getting the grant!)
Conclusion of this post is - there are opportunities and resources to support your creative journey. However, the responsibility of picking an appropriate grant and staying good on your project lies with you as the artist.
General rule of thumb: You cannot take the money of others and not care about them.
Again, all the best with your drafts and your pitches - stay tuned next month when we tackle another stage of creation!
Your work is done, you’ve gone through numerous feedback sessions, and you’ve edited your heart out of your piece. Then comes the next, dreadful question - Now what?
I have had mentees ask me the same question once they were done with a story, and my answer usually centers on these three points:
This month, we talk about getting your work out and what you may like to know before presenting your work to industry gatekeepers.
First and foremost - you’ll need a pitch line, or a hook to bring in potential agents or publishers, and most importantly, your readers. To challenge yourself, try to reduce your story to a 21-word long paragraph, no exceptions.
Audiences now have no obligation to consume stories or entertainment to the end, so if you can’t hook your audiences in quickly, you can lose a lot of people - including those who “fit the profile” of your ideal audience.
Surprise exercise - Summarize your novel or story in 10-20 words!
You can also find examples on the following sites:
Secondly, the next thing you’ll want to take note of is “who to pitch to”. In this area of the world, or Singapore in particular, there are a few options:
We’ll be talking about Self-Publishing and the support you’ll need in a separate post. Instead, we’ll focus on Publishers, Open Calls, and Agents - since they’re a little more straightforward. At least with the workflow.
Thirdly, would be how to pitch. Like the parties you can pitch your stories to, there are different ways you can do so. Regardless, there are these common main pointers to take note of:
TL;DR version - read and follow the submission requirements, and keep your story pitch short and sweet. Most importantly, if you need to explain / defend your story without having it defend itself, you might want to relook at your story.
That being said, I would say the most important tip is to be patient or send a polite request for a response about a month or two after your submission. Be professional and straightforward - begging, declaring your passion for writing, or saying that you’re just a student looking for a chance are surefire ways to be shut out from the running.
If all else fails and you really feel like there’s nowhere else to go, try other options - we’ll be doing another post of another popular alternate publishing option, self-publishing. So stay tuned for that!
Again, all the best with your drafts and your pitches - stay tuned next month when we tackle another stage of creation!
If you have been following the my series stages until this point, you should be at the point of getting feedback for your completed draft. This month, we’re going to take a break from giving you tips for story creation and instead, give you some pointers regarding the various mediums you can tell your stories through.
To keep things simple, I’m going to limit each medium to a single, main tip, some from personal experience, and some from friends in the industry.
Number 1 Rule of writing for comics: If it still reads perfectly fine without the visuals, then it’s probably not best in comic form.
I learnt this from writing ‘Unstable Foundations’. Coming from a largely prose background, I had to think of the story dialogue and descriptions in terms of still art - No point if your comics consists of talking-head panels 90% of the time. In comics, you have the advantage of art to show your story instead of wrecking your brain on how to ‘show, don’t tell’ - use it.
Long story short - You need to feel the story with only your ears.
Welcome to Night Vale, Within the Wires, Archive 81, Serial - after listening to these podcasts for a while, I came to a conclusion of the commonality between all of them (and why are they are so good). You can feel and be in the story without the need for visual aids.
The balance between an audibly tantalizing story and leaving things up to the imagination is crucial - and rather enjoyable, coming from a listener’s point-of-view.
Prose - Long Form
I know this is old advice but - begin with the end in mind.
In longer fiction, it’ll help to keep your base idea as simple as possible (like Inception. Hehe.) - that way, you’ll have a solid foundation on which you can plant your tree of a story. Personally, the most-heard advice I’ve gotten from editors and mentors find their commonality in keeping the base idea simple.
Here are some branches you can think about after you get your base story idea down:
Prose - Short Form
Pro TIp: Have your beginning, middle, and end all encompassed into the needed word limit.
All stories need to be all-encompassing, so readers won’t have the chance to point out loopholes in another story that they may find in the universe you decided to spread out over all your works a la Terry Pratchett. You may have a plan to have all your stories be linked by a single universe, but your readers don’t know - or are interested in - that.
So yes, many of the best short stories are able to balance leaving the reader wanting more but can also stand alone.
Bonus: Word Limits
There have been a few times where stories were rejected because they submitted stories which were too long - if your story exceeds the word limit by 1.5x, then try another place with a higher word limit, or start scrutinizing for areas that really need to be cut, or considering if your story should be a short story in the first place.
Generally, most places ask for stories between 2,000 to 8,000 words for short stories. Pulp Toast (the zine I handle) asks for stories below 3,000 words. And no, no amount of begging and declaration of passion “for writing” will help your case if your story is rejected (see previous post on the Editor’s Table).
And that’s all we have for the first half of the year - stay tuned next month as we start tackling some of the trickiest stages of getting your work out there.
There’s a saying that writers love to write, but hate to edit. There are reasons for that, and I covered them in my previous post on Feedback.
This month, we’ll be looking at what possibly goes on at the Editorial Table, instead.
A Huge Mess
If the place you’re submitting to has any form of reputation, you’re looking at an average of hundreds of submissions coming in a day. That also means a huge mess in the Editor’s inbox and on their table.
It’s not an exaggeration.
So do cut your editors a little slack, especially if they’re not handling the publication full-time.
At the same time, I’d say this gives all storytellers more incentive to submit their best work, correctly formatted - making your editor’s life a little easier goes a slightly longer way (after good content), trust me.
We can say and fantasize all we like, but deadlines are a reality of life - whether you’re a creative genius or not. Same thing goes with your Editors. With tight deadlines and book launches looming, Editors have a load of responsibility to get content out on schedule.
Content will keep coming, but books need to be released to make pay and rent.
At the same time, Editors are usually at this in-between situation where they want to spend time to make creator’s stories the best they can be, but also have to cater to the people who sign their paychecks - the publisher or clients. Therefore, when your Editors give you a deadline, chances are, it’s the best date they can think of so that the project’s schedule won’t be thrown off too much.
The Better Between Two Choices
Oftentimes, Editors find themselves in an unenviable position of having to choose the better between two greats. It can be due to the publisher’s budgets, market information, or just which one fits the anthology or collection better and it only had one slot left.
Putting aside the fact of some manuscripts really not making the cut due to the quality of writing, disregard of the publisher’s format criteria, or stories that are not aligned with the anthology’s theme, the Editor can be left with a case where you only have 12 story slots in this anthology, but 16 stories that made the cut.
That’s when it gets really down to the wire - Editors will be looking out for silly mistakes, the slightest loophole, or even which story seems to fit best so they can trim out the duplicates.
Therefore, it is common for Editors to say, “Sometimes, it’s not about the quality of the work. It’s about which work ended up becoming the best fit, instead of the best.”
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Editors have many deadlines to adhere to - on top of their daily work and follow-ups with more authors than they can handle. So to be brutally honest, many “can you please tell me why my manuscript has been rejected?” emails can go unanswered just because the Editor literally have no time to craft something more nuanced than the rejection letter received.
Regardless, do send in your queries - politely, please - if you have a burning desire to know how your manuscript did.
Just don’t feel entitled to an answer, and keep creating.
And that’ll be all from the Editorial Office (at least, some part of it)! Stay tuned next month for the next stage - Mediums (and no, not the ones you use to communicate with spirits).
You wrote your ideas, plans, and disciplined yourself to complete your story. So now what?
Given how saturated the creative market is in the local, regional, and international playing field, you would want your work to be the best it can be while still retaining your voice. And that’s when you enter the stage of Editing and Feedback - possibly one of the most important stages in your journey to creating and putting your work out there.
Just a note before we start: Note that I’ve said that this is one of the most important stages in your creative journey - that means there’s no guarantee that this will be the easiest or most enjoyable stage.
From personal experience, many questions on feedback lie with two main categories - Asking for feedback, and Receiving feedback.
Asking for Feedback
Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve received from asking for feedback is the fact that you have to work for your feedback. More specifically, people cannot give you good feedback if you don’t know what you’re getting feedback for.
So before asking for feedback, here are some questions or points to consider:
When do you want or need the feedback?
This is crucial - you don’t want to waste time, but you don’t want to waste anyone else’s time either. Thus, you’ll need to figure out the right time to ask for feedback.
Usually, I start asking for feedback during two major instances:
This helps so that I don’t fall into the “perfectionist” trap of never ever finishing because “it’s not good enough” - it won’t be until you decide that you’re done. Set a limit for yourself - one rewrite, then you’ll ask for edits or feedback, or I’ll consider this done and ask for feedback two weeks before submission deadline.
Also, give your feedback group a reasonable deadline - depending on how much detail you need and how long your piece is, usually I give about 1 week to 1 month for people to get back to me.
That way, you can get the help you need.
What do you want feedback for?
As mentioned earlier, you won’t know if people are giving you good feedback or feedback to consider if you don’t even know what you want feedback for in the first place.
“But Jo, this is ridiculous,” you may say, “I just want feedback on my story and the feedback I get is all over the place!”
Therein lies the rub - you want feedback on your story, yes. However, there are many aspects of storytelling that can be critique. Therefore, it is in your best interest to weed out maybe 2-3 main questions you’d like to ask your feedback group before sending your manuscripts to them for feedback.
Here are some examples you can consider:
Not your parents or grandparents. Unless they are professional editors. LOL.
Try to have a diverse group of people who you can ask for feedback from - teachers, mentors, friends, writer’s group mates, fandom mates, etc… - one of the best things you can do is to include people from your target audience into your feedback group.
An important thing to note - DO NOT pester your editor or proofreader friend to have a look through for free. Editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, or people in the publishing industry in general are very busy people, regardless of whether or not they’re your friends or you’re just a student.
Personally, if you’re just looking for a person to give you comments or answer your questions on how your piece reads, ask your friends or a mentor (However, like editors, do not expect them to comply all the time).
But if you’d like a professional opinion or a major upheaval of a long piece of yours, and you have no idea how to go about it - put aside some cash and hire a professional editor. Singapore-wise, you can take a look at the Book Council for a registry of possible partners or editors.
Before you start, please also note that not everyone in your feedback group is obligated to return to you with feedback, especially if you’re not paying them to beta read your work. So the first thing you’d need to do is to decide when to take feedback into account and start edits.
Personally, these are my criteria before I start my revisions base on critique:
Again, your criteria is up to you to decide.
Now, with all the comments coming in, the next question would be how to deal with them and apply them to your work.
First and foremost, here’s just a quick rundown on what criticism is vs. what critiques are - many tend to think they are interchangeable, but knowing the difference can help smoothen your editing journey.
One of the easiest ways to differentiate the two would be as follows: Criticism is negative connotation or comments which contribute nothing to the betterment of your piece. Critique is negative comments that help you better your creation, usually with suggestions from the critic.
As you go through more editing processes, you’ll have a better feel of which comments help the story, and which you can ignore. Note: For those starting out, it’ll be good for you to take at least 90-95% of feedback into consideration, especially if they are from your target audience or professionals. Remember, feedback is to help you tell the best story, not to affirm or stroke your ego.
After sifting through the comments, you can now start to organize them. A good hierarchy to sort them under can look like this:
And like all professionals - remember to follow-up with your critics or beta-readers: Thank them, clarify feedback, ask questions, and if they’re amenable, send them your edited version. Regardless, remember to thank the people who have helped you with your work!
BONUS: Giving Feedback
While this entire post is about working with feedback, it’s a little weird not to share a few tips on how to give feedback - just to give other creators an easier time with their works.
Tips for giving feedback are a little more straightforward. From a generic point-of-view, these have worked so far:
And before I go, here’s a technique I seem to find myself living by, especially after many sessions of this technique for feedback and workshopping working so well for me.
So far, I only know it to be called the “Workshopping” technique - a process introduced to me by Miguel Syjuco, while I was doing my Mentor Access Programme in 2014/15. It’s used in Creative Writing workshops in professional groups, including Columbia University (where Miguel learnt it).
Here’s how it goes:
It ensures that all participants are committed to helping each other out (if you didn’t bother reading the pieces, you won’t be able to help anyway), so whether you’re a veteran or are just starting out - you will benefit from it.
And that’s it for this month’s Stage of Creation post. See you all next month!
Alright - Idea’s down, your schedule is out, and you blaze through your first week. The second week passes and it’s a challenge, but you get there. The third week comes, you skipped a day - you need a treat, after all. And by the fourth week of the month, your project has been sitting in its status since you left it hanging in Week Two and you’re just staring at the screen until the next distraction comes up to ask for your attention.
Welcome to the treacherous ranges that form the Ridges of Creation.
One of the things that people don’t tell you about being a Creative is how heart-wrenching, boring, or frustrating the process can be. Sure, there will be bouts of inspiration and drive - the peaks of these ridges, but more often than not, storytellers in our personal circles will face a roadblock or challenge of some sort when they start creating.
So what can we do?
First thing you’ll probably need to is to figure out your particular mood or emotion before you started. Many will tell you that emotions will only get in the way of disciplined creation, but your emotional self will get in the way some way or another. In cases like this, it’ll be good to be self-aware before you sit down and then get frustrated over only writing five words after staring at the screen for hours on end.
After getting your mood and emotions in check, here are a few things you can get to doing depending on how the creation mountain is to you that day:
When you feel even that little smidgeon up to it:
On days where you end up staring at the screen because nothing is coming to your head, try these to either move your project along, or even to get that much needed spark to get over your current creation block:
Tips for Better Creative Sessions:
Whether or not you’re having a moment of Peak Performance or a Down Day, here are also a few tips to get as much out of your creative sessions as possible.
That’s all I have so far for the creation stage. I hope my last three posts (including this one) have helped with some aspect of your storytelling journey.
Thank you for your support and I hope you’ve managed to benefit from some of the information presented above. Stay tuned for the next stage, the first after you’re done with your finished product, a doozie - getting and coming to terms with feedback.
My sanctuary of creative organisation, arts management, and planners.