I want to write about the process of creation. I am a creator. I am moving from the adjective creative to the title creator, much the same way someone becomes a sailor when they get on a boat and actually sail (which reminds me of the classic children’s book Finally a Sailor, read it if you haven’t yet). Yes, I am a creator because I make things.
One question that I am often asked when people see my creative output is, “How did you think of this?” That is a hard question to answer because the cognitive process is fast and elusive, as if it is what happens behind the scenes. One moment there is not an idea in the mind and the next second there it is, as if appearing out of nowhere.
Actually there is a halfway answer that I have been coming to for the last long while. I am going to sum it up in an analogy that just came to me. Picture, if you will, a slot machine. Not the fancy video ones with monitors with so much color and action that it gives a headache just to look at them (let alone try to understand them [I tried to play one once while on a writing-road-trip-pilgrimage, it was interesting—for further reading on that get a copy of Finding Ray Bradbury]). No, imagine an old-time slot machine with a long silver lever on the side and a three-compartment window. Pull that arm and the wheels start spinning in a whiz of color. Slowly, one by one, each wheel stops. Most of the time the combination is nothing special; not a winner. But every so often the match up is right, and out come s the money, the prize.
The mind is full of ideas, thoughts and pieces of knowledge. Creative minds are the ones that are constantly, ceaselessly putting together new combinations of the old. They are the addicts who cannot quit playing, pushing on until coming upon a winning combination even though victory doesn’t satisfy the need but rather feeds it. My mind is in constant motion, always putting things together and occasionally getting something that fits just right. When that happens it’s time to run with it. Turn it into action.
As a writer I am constantly coming up with ideas for stories. Are they new? No, I suppose not. They are made with other ideas and thoughts that are common, what makes them good is that they are combined in just the right way. For every good idea I have there are scores that didn’t measure up.
Lately I have been weak on the action part. One story in particular seems beyond finishing. It has taken me months to get to where I am, which is in the still-not-finished-yet-but-getting-there phase. The idea is great but laziness is holding me back. Its time to buckle down and finish it. Wish me luck…and keep your eyes open for the forthcoming story.