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Growing Creative

I did say I would look for faces in tree trunks. You could argue that this one hasn’t grown on the tree but that depends on your definition of growing.

Some creative soul has carved this into a tree trunk. It is actually a seat. The design no doubt grew as the person chiselled it out. They probably did have a starting point and knew roughly how it would end up looking. It would have grown however from somewhere within.

Similar to the way many writers work. We begin with an idea. Our imaginations are sparked from an overheard conversation or perhaps the way the light has landed on a particular object. Maybe it was a weather pattern that ignited a thought or a certain taste or feel. Perhaps the sound of a favourite melody heard a hundred times before suddenly out of the blue an image grows in our minds.

Many writers say smell helps the creative juices to flow and deliberately cultivate that by always having a particular scent bottled placed near them. A quick whiff and off they go on their writing journey.

Myself, it can be all or none of these things. I know however that being close to nature has a big influence on me. The feel when entering the woods, how alive and buzzing with life they are. I can sense it even through my shoes. The smell of the pine needles or the soft ground beneath my feet can inspire me. Birdsong or a drizzle of rain on my face may awaken a creative thought. All then filter through to my written work.

I do however form pictures first and not words in my head. Perhaps that is the consequence of being Dyslexic who knows. Although I was diagnosed at a young age it has taken a long time to be comfortable with actually saying it out loud. I even checked out a Facebook page on the subject, just a wee peek, then hide away again.

Back to nature, where Grumpa is often found in his garden or shed. Hardly ever do we see him inside. Where would this grumpy, kind-hearted man be without his flowers and garden?

Blàs is set in a rural village surrounded by nature. The sound of the sea and the taste of salt on lips are strong memories for most Scots. Our land is so important but then nobody lives that far from water. If we do the rain takes care of that. We are constantly bombarded with reflections and water sparking in the brief sunshine.

Eventually, after images have tumbled around in our subconscious for a while the need to put something down overtakes us. Much is said of planning and plotting at this stage.

I have to admit to being the kind of writer who has an idea, churns it around for a time, sleeps on it, takes a few walks (thankfully the dog is happy to just pad along beside me), and eventually puts fingers to keyboard.

Down the draft goes. Thumped out at a rate of knots until eventually, I get so muddled because I haven’t planned, I have to stop. I take account of where I am, regret that I didn’t just have a wee planning session beforehand and go back to the beginning to sort out the numerous ideas that have knitted together like a dozen tangled fishing lines.

The next stage is far more serene and time-consuming as I develop a cohesive strategy for my story to follow. I unpick situations, smooth out lines and fish for better thought-out scenarios.

It does seem to work for me. So far I have produced stories that my readers of various ages seem to enjoy. However, I still remember the feeling of shock when a writer once told me they only had one notebook and everything they had relating to a particular story was in there. I felt too embarrassed to admit how many I had or indeed how much time I wasted trying to find something I had previously scribbled down. The trouble with having all these notebooks was, I could never find the one I was looking for that I had used whilst in a train or car or sitting waiting for someone.

It did however focus my mind. I am now way more organised in my writing and have different methods and tools that help me to keep track of where I am in the process. I still possess quite a few notebooks but then again I like stationary, so I don’t think I will ever be without a few.

I have grown and developed as a writer. Like the design on the tree trunk, my writing and methods have evolved. Here’s to the next chapter in my creative journey.

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