Friday, 23 May 2014

How To Prepare A Creative Writing Project

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please excuse the cat feets. he doesn't like to be moved so i have to work around him...

Oh hai fellow humans, super-intelligent animals and unidentified life forms. As you may know, I'm currently on another year out from uni due to my health but I'm planning on resuming my studies come September. I swear I'll graduate at some stage of my life...As a student of Creative Writing, I have to submit a creative dissertation at the end of my third year which is super exciting but also quite the creative burden.  I thought I'd start a diary, of sorts, to document my progress, my aims and the many hurdles that I stumble over along the way. These posts will be the hub of my creative anxiety, basically! However, I'm hoping it'll also prove to be useful to those of you who want to work on your own creative projects but don't know where to start. You can even work alongside me! I'm definitely not an expert but I am vaguely enthusiastic...What more could you ask of me?! If you've got your own hints and tips for fellow creatives, please leave them in the comments section below. 




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PROGRESS report
• vague overall concept & setting        • few basic characters and situations
• name                                             • vague beginning 

I started thinking about this project properly for the first time this month after promising myself I'd start thinking about it in pretty much all of my Monthly Goals posts so far this year. Whoops! I've since, however, managed to nail a few basics and come up with a very vast concept that will definitely need reigning in within the next few weeks. However, coming up with something vaguely viable is an important first step to make so excuse me whilst I perform a miniature victory dance! The inspiration for this project came from one of the 140 character stories that I wrote and actually shared with you a while back in my How To Write #TwitterFiction post...

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From this tiny piece of fiction, I came up with the idea to write a piece of surrealist bizzaro fiction loosely based on a very post-apocalyptic world where anything and everything is possible. It's a little difficult to put my vision into words, especially as I'm not sure what it is yet, so bear with me. Whilst it's going to be a little out of the ordinary and full of adventure, I want it to still feel inherently human. I'm going to be playing around with form throughout to create something pretty fun and a little different, hopefully. I also have a name...drum roll please...And So, We All Float On. What do you think? It's subject to change, of course, but for now I'm going with it. And So, We All Float On is actually taken from a line by the leader of a brigade that navigates the skies in hot air balloons, circus tents, wendy houses and the like. That sort of gives you a taster of the project, I'm sure! 


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To do before next report
 • outline of a few stories                          • meet my characters and look at them in detail
 • have a clear idea of aims and tone         • play with form

There's still a lot of shaping to do before I really know what I'm going for and that's something that I really want to work on before our next update which will probably be next month. I think one of the biggest things that I need to devote time to is deciphering the tone. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going for yet and it's stunting the whole process. I also need to work out what my aims are with this collection. What do I want people to go away and think about? What do I want them to feel? By shaping my ideas, I'll hopefully be able to move forward with them and imagine characters that will be able to facilitate them in the way I'm hoping for. I've got quite a lot to think about but hopefully I'll get there. 

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how to prepare a creative project
It's all well and good jumping headfirst into a project but, if you're anything like me, you're going to need to undertake the following few steps before you can really engage with your creative brain! Here's how I got started...

1ESTABLISH A WORK ENVIRONMENT AND COLLECT UP YOUR TOOLS 
Work out where you work best. A lot of people say to avoid spaces where you do other things but I don't think that's always correct. I always seem to work from my bed, whether I'm hidden away underneath a billion blankets or sprawled on top of it, it's the space that is most available to me and the one that works best for me. I'm typing this from my bed and it's not going too badly, right?! You're going to want to assign yourself a notebook, pen and a backpack of some kind to collect all of your creative goodness in. A creative sheath, if you will. Oh God, that was horrible. I'm sorry I ever typed that

2. BE AWARE OF THE THINGS THAT LIMIT YOUR CREATIVITY AND WORK ROUND THEM 

If you're like me, you know all of the things that limit your creativity and yet you always always always fall for them. Whilst I don't police myself as such, I like to acknowledge my creative vices and work out how to manage them in a way that doesn't thwart my productivity too much. For instance, I find that silence really jars my writing so, more often than not, I work to music. Loud music. I know, I'm a strange one. If social media is your downfall, set yourself hours outside of work dedicated to mindlessly scrolling. However, if I'm being honest, I think a lot of the time social media timelines induce the death of all creative thought so I'd give them a wide berth whilst you're in the early stages of writing.

3. SOURCE SOME INSPIRATION AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH IT 

Immerse yourself in creative fuel and I'm sure you'll reap the rewards! I like to immerse myself in art, film, music, photography and adventures before undergoing the first steps of the writing process. Lately, I've been watching things that encompass, and essentially inspire, the vibe of my current project such as Adventure Time and The Mighty Boosh. I also like to read poetry and listen to songs with lyrics that I greatly admire. I created a Pinterest board a while back to store inspiration and it has proved to be a helpful little mood board to look over when I'm searching for ideas. It's a private board but here's a few stills to give you some idea of the things I like to store.  You could even create real life boards around your room to inspire you further. I've also got a Tumblr full of goodies that I refer back to when writing. Have a bit of fun with it. 


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4. UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM
Sometimes, your creativity is there but you need to exercise it a little to get it into shape. I found my Wreck This Journal a great resource when beginning this project because it allowed me to be creative in a completely critic-free way. I also find music to be a really great resource. Whether it's by penning a blog post, singing out loud, watching your favourite film or penning a 140 character story, once you've inspired your creativity you'll find your project a lot easier to handle and envision. 

If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.




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9 comments

  1. What a great project, I love it! I also really like doing things like this myself!

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  2. Oh my your cat's paws are adorable!

    Sarah
    www.daisychainsanddreamers.com

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  3. hahaha 'a creative sheath;, that really cracked me up. Loving the post, I have absolutely no talent when it comes to creative writing but this was fascinating to read. Good luck with your project (not that you need it ) I can't wait to hear more :)

    Ellie

    http://elsie-bells.blogspot.co.uk/

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  4. Ooh good luck! I did creative writing as well but chose to do two dissertation modules because the other modules we had to choose from were a bit rubbish! Wish I'd been as organised as you though... I still hadn't decided what to do for one in the December of my third year! All worked out in the end though. Although I haven't done any creative writing since uni (4 years ago!). Need to get back into it! This is one reason I like your blog because whenever I read a post I always then feel motivated and inspired to write again! Which is good, so thank you!

    Katie

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  5. Best of luck with the dissertation! I studied Creative Writing as well and love your tips. I think the biggest challenge I had was letting go of my first sentence: the whole story idea grew out of this one sentence that popped into my head, but as I wrote it I realised the sentence didn't work any more. I tried to keep hold of it and work it in, but eventually had to give it up. So I guess my advice would be to let the story grow and let go of the parts that don't work any more. Good luck!

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  6. I'd be really interested in reading more of these dissertation diaries, it's such a great idea! I studied Creative Writing too and I wish I'd kept some sort of diary on the process of writing my final project. Your tips are really helpful. When I was writing my dissertation/project I found that I needed to start writing as soon as possible because I often tried to plan too much and put pressure on myself to write it perfectly straight away. Sometimes just writing and seeing where it takes you can be exciting! Good luck with your dissertation :)

    Gemma

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  7. Well, what I RECKON is that you should jump between characters in different time zones as a sort of fragmented narrative which would be quite a useful device if you wanted to explore any issues/worlds/whevs. Loads of unique ones with the same narrator, or a few similar you keep coming back to, or a combo... just scenes or vignettes, really, I think would be a nice way to paint pictures and discuss things and entwine your audience in a narrative without them really knowing that you're doing that - and show that you are competent at loads of things (all of which are necessary to engage a reader)

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  8. Your pinterest board looks amazing and I'm looking forward to the progression of your creative writing, it seems surreal and all things beautiful!

    I'm also now following you on bloglovin'

    xxx

    http://tasxxx.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. Oo! Ta for the tips! This was exactly what I needed to read today as my creativity reserve has been at an all time low of late :(. Can't wait to see how you get on as you've inspired me to go on a Paperchase run. I'm not sure if I should be glad it's payday today or not...lol. Hope you feel loads better and that you keep your momentum with regards to your project. Sounds like an interesting one ;)

    Mo x// Within My Locket

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