Don’t you dislike the words “supposed to?” If I always did what I was “supposed” to do, I certainly wouldn’t be having as much fun.
On the career front, I am “supposed” to be working on Book Three of Faerie Tales from the White Forest, which is being released Fall 2013. Thank Cheese* for small presses who can publish books on shorter notice.
It’s not that I don’t want to finish it or won’t or think I can’t, I just had this other story nipping at my heels like a pack or wererats and could no longer ignore it.
I’ve been totally immersed in the White Forest for the past 5 years, filing away other shiny ideas. Those ideas hung out with each other, made friends, and eventually came knocking. They got too rowdy to ignore.
I had wanted to write a YA sci fi novel. I had wanted to write something light and goofy and funny to counter all the bleak dystopian literature out there. And for months I had had the phrase “Lady Gaga in space” running over and over in my head. I said it out loud to people and they laughed.
I finally decided it was okay to set aside Book Three. That I wasn’t procrastinating, that I would get it done, but first, I had to get Intergalactic out of my system. When I finished I thought it was either the most brilliant story or the stupidest story I’d ever written. I didn’t care. It was silly. It was irreverent. I’d never had so much fun writing anything in my life. I laughed, I cried, I decided I had something and that I would polish it up and pitch it.
And I’m having a blast editing it, too.
YOUR WEEKEND WORKOUT
Rick Jarow states that as soon as someone says to him, “This is going to sound stupid, but I want . . .” then he knows they’ve come across an inspiring or important idea.
Just for a while, set aside whatever it is you’re “supposed” to be doing, and do something stupid, silly, and irreverent just for fun. It doesn’t have to be writing-related. It could be that you’re supposed to be grocery shopping and you decide to go into the toy store and blow bubbles instead. It could be that you’re supposed to do the laundry and instead you make a collage of smiles cut out of magazines (I’ve actually done that one, it’s fun).
If you are writing, put aside your novel edits and write that wacky short story you keep thinking is dumb. You know, the one about the robot mermaid that get sent back in time and befriends a fishermen. Or write whatever is is that’s niggling in the background and don’t care about what it’s for or why or the result.
I find doing things like this reconnects me with my child-like excitement around imagination and creativity.
So go forth and have fun. And if you feel so inclined to share what you did, I’d love to hear about it.
*Once in a workshop some kids asked what we could say instead of “Thank God” for people who were not religions. A 10-year-old girl came up with “Thank Cheese.”