Over the last month, something spectacular occurred regarding my continued work as an author. But I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I wonder what does the phrase “creative process” mean to you? Pause and think for a second… Have you ever thought about it relating to anything that you do in your life? If you engage in any type of art, you may have thought about it, but even if you don’t, I’m sure some of you have reflected on what led you to an outcome at one time in your life. Maybe it was a dinner you had to make for your first major holiday celebration, and you had no idea how to pull off multiple dishes needing to be ready at the same time. Maybe it was succeeding in a work project that ended up to be the complete opposite of where you thought it would conclude. No matter what the situation was, your creativity led to an accomplishment of some sort and you can still feel proud of it to this day.
Well, I’ve been thinking about my own creative process more lately for two reasons; because this blog is about the behind the scenes of me as an author so the creativity behind my work is emphasized for me at this moment and how as I get older I become more at ease with actually identifying outwardly as an artist (more on that in a future post I’m sure). Now, if you have read my last post (and I hope you did!), you’d see that I talked about my blogging process. This post is not all about process per se, but yes, I am including the word “process” once again because it’s the overall category for my topic of today. It’s that important, I guess. Or, maybe it’s just my new favorite word.
So, let me tell you how wild it is to me that without me purposely trying to think of an idea for my second novel, the characters and storyline started to come to me in a procession of glorious little tidbits (much like my first book, which completely surprised me because I was not an author at that point, but felt that I had to write it; more on that back story in the future). The details just kept and still keep on unfolding almost daily in the last two months. The way this keeps happening fascinates me because when I work on a visual art project, I have the outcome in my head and then I work toward that end picture or result. Does anyone else relate to that? But with both books now, the ideas come to me in fragments first and then I put them together to make the finished product. The puzzle easily goes together for me but why is it a puzzle in the first place? It’s completely the opposite of the way I’ve created anything in my entire life! Something about the writing artist in me works differently than the other artist selves within me.
The second book idea started to come to me when I was speaking to one of my best friends on the phone about an idea she had for a business. Out of nowhere I started to literally see pieces of a story I wanted to create. As my friend spoke, her passion about her business must have sparked a creative fire in me (and we do have a 30-year connection so that makes sense). I saw images from this new story as if they were familiar already. It continued to happen so much during that inspired phone call that I wrote down ideas I thought of immediately upon hanging up the phone, after divulging what just happened to her of course. Over the next few days, I had details about my main character, where she lived, and what she did as a career written on various scraps of paper in an accumulating pile. My main character’s personality and the actual plot have uncovered themselves to me as recent as last week. It happens when I least expect the thoughts to come, which I love. It’s all coming together in an organic way. I wouldn’t want it to be forced, after all. That’s not how I roll.
You may have seen my post this past weekend on social media where I revealed the location of this second book. Get excited because it’s happening in good old New Orleans, LA (NOLA)! Okay, I have to take a side note here. Being an Italian American author, you may be thinking that it is a strange choice to choose that city because there doesn’t seem to be any Italian heritage there. Well, that isn’t the case. When I had researched my own family history, I saw that there were immigrants from Italy that settled in NOLA (I never knew!). It’s a place with a rich history in general, plus it’s where I saw my main character living in my mind’s eye right after that notorious phone call. NOLA is a perfect next location for me for many other reasons as well; it’s a place I love to visit, there’s an emotional tie to another best friend, there is a French influence so it pays honor to another ethnicity of mine, and the Italian history there isn’t as well-known as say, the history of immigration to the northeast so that brings more of a unique aspect to it, which I thrive on. It’s screaming to me to write about it. I guess I’ll have to take another trip there in the future, you know, for research purposes.
Getting back to my creative connections now, remember also in my last post I talked about art forms informing other art forms? Well, my friend’s creative idea for her business ignited this story idea in me, so her art influencing my art occurred. Then soon after that conversation, I was listening to an audiobook about a completely different topic than my story and wouldn’t you know it, more ideas came to me almost every time I got in my car and listened to that book. I often had to use voice to text to make notes to myself for my concepts because I didn’t want to forget before I got to my destination. Somehow there was some feeling from the book that fed my NOLA story in my mind. How in the world does that makes sense? It doesn’t. It’s just how art goes. Apparently, it’s my creative process for writing.
What have I learned from this chain of events? I never know where my inspiration will come from. I never know how I will get my story ideas; be it through music, stories other artists have told, or other stimulating people who want to see their passion come alive. What I do know is that I’ll take it! I want to continue to allow the art to fill me up and lead me to what it wants me to say. I have to listen to the art that wants to be expressed because it gives me purpose. I also hope the stories I tell give other people insight into themselves, or maybe even lead them to find their purpose. I enjoy this alternate artistic experience that comes as an author. It’s unexpected, but thrilling.
I welcome you to tell me any of your stories in the comments below. I love to hear about your creative processes. You never know, it may inspire me or another reader.
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