Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creative Distraction

Everyone has heard about writer's block.  I always imagined writer's block as the dilemma of staring at the blank page without a clue of what to write. According to that definition, I am a stranger to writer's block. My brain is always swimming with another idea. However, I do know something of creative block--that insane and maddening sense that however brilliant the idea, I lack the creativity to get the story told in a brilliant way. Does it need to be brilliant? Probably not. Do I want it to be? Truthfully, yes.

As a writer, I have the most demanding boss in the world. Myself. And I recently discovered the secret to busting creative block.

Creative distraction.

What do we write about anyway? Fiction writers may create their own plots, characters, and even settings, but they create them from life. So, I recently decided to give the laptop and a particular fantasy novel a rest while I pursued some creative distraction. Yes, I even ignored my goal to write to a word count for an entire week. It's amazing how a new goal, with an entirely different creative focus, has the power to free up those brain cells. I decided I hadn't spent enough time with the piano in...well...years.  And I found a song, a fairly challenging one for me, that I wanted to learn to play.  Play well.  Memorized.

I found a refreshing enthusiasm for accomplishing hard things by spending a few rigorous hours practicing the piano--a few rigorous hours for a few days. And I also took time to make S'mores over a bonfire, watch the sunset, and have a "Just Dance" competition with over twenty people in my basement. When I returned to my writing, I found two more ideas for picture book manuscripts waiting in the now relaxed creative corners of my brain.  I found the solutions to the problems I was having with a work in progress and I prepared three manuscripts for submission.

The ideas and the answers are in there. Sometimes, a creative distraction is needed to allow them to break free. And, in case you were wondering about that piano piece--"Dancing on the Berlin Wall" by David Lanz.


  1. I would absolutely love to hear you play that song!! SOON! I hope that you have success with the picture books.

  2. Stopping by from the campaign!! It's sometimes nice to get distracted...

  3. I love the concept of creative distraction! I think the key is just finding distraction that you enjoy rather than distraction that simply soaks up time (like so much of the internet does!) I'm glad you came back to find your writing words waiting.

    Stopping by from the campaign, group 1. Nice to meet and follow you!

  4. Hello, Celesta! I love your name...mine is distinctive as well. Just stopping by from the campaign (group #1) and realize I'm way behind! I love Celtic music as well, and appreciate the photos that depict the setting of your stories. Great idea! See you around...

  5. Ilove your escape from the computer and joining real life. I'm saying Hi from the campaign and our group of Children's lit. I wrote a story for a child for the challenge. I'm number 181. I hope you like it.

  6. Celesta...I signed up to follow you...I hope I did it correctly!