Get Intimate with Your Novel Writing Process by Beth Barany
You’re invited to get intimate… with your creativity and writing process. Enjoy!
When you think of writing your novel, you may not think in terms of intimacy, a deep connection, or a conscious partnership. But to create a long lived and vibrant author career, I think we benefit from being in deep relationship with our creativity and creative process, as well as with the characters we write about.
What does this look like specifically and how can it help you in your day to day work?
One of the biggest challenges creative writers face is being unhappy about the way the writing is progressing, or not progressing.
Namely, they want to be writing, but aren’t. (I address a lot of this writer pain in this 2-part series here (part 1) and here (part 2).)
The other big problem I see writers face is that when they are writing they feel that the story sucks and so the writing progresses ever so slowly and painfully. In my opinion, this is because they are working out of order. They are often judging their work before it’s written; they stop their creative flow because either they don’t trust this unknown or they don’t trust what they already know and so won’t let it just flow.
When I hear these problems, I get curious and wonder about a few things… I wonder:
- What is their relationship with their creativity?
- What would they like their relationship to be like?
- Have they listened to their muse lately? Have they listened to all the voices? If so, what are the voices saying? If no, what happens when they listen and hear what their creativity or muse is saying?
- What actions can they take to be in better relationship with their creativity?
Let’s break it down
Let’s take these one at a time and ask the questions. I invite you to explore your answers along the way.
1. What is your relationship with your creativity?
To explore this in a meaningful way, I invite you to meditate, free write, or talk it out with a trusted and safe friend.
You may notice as you ask yourself this question that you don’t have a relationship with your creativity. Or that you’ve never conceptualized your creativity as its own force. Or maybe you have and that’s awesome.
I believe our creativity is a force, definitely a part of us, but also a separate entity. While our creative work comes through us and we write the stories down, we aren’t the originator. I think creativity comes from the Unknown/Divine/That Which Brings Life.
We are all conduits for life, but we actually don’t create the spark; we only channel, shape, mold, and catalyze it into form. That in itself is pretty powerful stuff.
Imagine your Creativity is an entity sitting in front of you. Introduce yourself to it. Find out about it as you would a new stranger who is becoming a friend. Or as you would with an old friend. Ask, “Hi, how are you?” And then listen to the answer. Record the reply.
What do you discover about your Creativity? What can you share with it? What do you feel comfortable sharing with it? How would you characterize the relationship is it currently is?
2. What would you like your relationship to be like with Creativity?
Just as you can ask yourself this question of your relationships with your friends, family, and significant others, ask that of your relationship with our creativity. What would you like this relationship to be like?
You may discover a mountain of pain under this question. Or not. That’s okay too! Just notice if it is be painful noticing the difference between where you are now and where you’d like to be. If not, if what you would like is what you have, so lovely.
When I don’t write in my journal and don’t spend time with my fiction writing, I feel like I’m a stranger to myself and that makes me sad. Writing is the primary way I listen to myself, know myself, and play with all the possibilities.
Note down what you’d like your relationship to be like with your Creativity.
3. Have you listened to your Muse/Creativity lately and whatever other voices are inside (like the Editor)?
If so, yay! What is your Creativity saying? Are you taking notes?
If not, take a clear inventory of why you haven’t. Notice the story about why you haven’t listened to your Creativity. What is beneath or behind that story? What deeper truth could be there?
Sometimes we tell stories that are blaming other people and circumstances for why we haven’t taken action to write and create and listen to our Creativity. Be clear if that’s what you’ve been telling yourself and recognize that there are also real circumstances that require our energy.
We have finite resources on any given day and maybe we needed to take care of a family member or work obligation that takes precedence.
Even so, like many writing and creativity teachers and coaches, I recommend that you put your needs first, if even for five minutes.
If you don’t feed yourself, you’ll be depleted and be of no help to anyone.
Have you listened to your Muse/Creativity lately and whatever other voices are inside (like the Editor)? What are they saying? Take notes.
4. What actions can you take to be in better relationship with your creativity?
How are you in relationship with the important people in your life? Usually we spend time with them; we’ve made an agreement with them either implicitly or explicitly and we follow through in our words, deeds, and intent.
What might this look like for your relationship with your creativity and your writing?
Some ideas are:
- Give gifts to your creativity; maybe by taking yourself on a writer’s or artist’s date; spending time with it; write love notes.
- Conversation: how can you be in dialogue with your Creativity? Maybe this is taking the time to write new material; or edit if even for a short while.
- Feed the Muse: an artist’s date; read; play; explore; listen to music; be with other writers.
- Write an agreement with your Creativity, if you haven’t already, or renew your vows.
- Play together; stretch; write a bunch of “what if” story ideas; dream big about being with your Creativity in the way you really want, if no one were watching; or if your self-judgement was on vacation.
- Create an inner conference with your Writer self, Editor self, Marketing self, Publisher self, and Executive self. Chat, share, commiserate, get on the same page together.
What other ways can you get intimate with your Creativity? The Universe is the limit, and that’s infinite. (As far as we know, the Universe is expanding, so… it really is limitless, according to today’s science.)
JOIN A LOCAL EVENT: If you want to get intimate with your relationships and explore and deepen your love connections, then check out this upcoming event with FEM Talks where I will be a vendor: “Pathways to Intimacy: How to Open to Deeper Fulfilling Love” on Monday, February 11, 6:30-9:15pm, Berkeley, California. $24 online ($30 at door). For more information and to register for the women-only event, go here: https://www.meetup.com/femtalks/events/256037143/.
SHARE: I’d love to hear what you discover and uncover as you explore the relationship with your Creativity. Post in the comments or write me. And thank you for coming to the Writer’s Fun Zone, where creative writers reach for the stars, play like a child, and write like a fiend.
START: Ready to begin your writer’s adventure, but not sure how to start? Then start with our free Writer Discovery course here: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/your-writer-discovery-mini-course/.
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Founder of Barany School of Fiction, Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist writing magical tales of romance, adventure, and mystery. She is also an international trainer and workshop leader. Most recently, she taught her “Plan Your Novel” course (now a book!) in Saudi Arabia at Ithra.
Beth loves encouraging writers to share their stories with the world, for together we can vision our future. She specializes in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.