If there is a secret to writing fiction, a difference that distinguishes a professional from an aspiring amateur, it is the art of making believe. In many ways it is akin to all the pretending and playing we did as children. You remember, everything was possible and every day was a new adventure, wasn’t it? The majority of people lose that gift for creative fantasy but writers don’t. Or, at least, writers can find a way back to the childlike mindset.
Now, having that ability to fabricate something from nothing doesn’t mean the process is childish. Certainly there will be those around you, the ones who consider themselves practical, who will tell you that you’re wasting your time or daydreaming on paper perhaps. But for those of us who write stories and novels it is a process that grows and develops over time. Eventually you reach a point that it is nearly impossible to turn it off or disconnect from the creative flow – then again, who would you want to, right?
There are times when being creative isn’t an asset. I’ve worked in business for most of my adult life. there have been times when my creative mind waged war on the part of me that paid the bills. It wasn’t pretty for others to watch and it was painful to experience. You see – if you want to write professionally there is a point of balance you much reach with your other life, the part that shows up on time for appointments, makes it to work at a day job when scheduled and ensures that the money to pay bills reaches the appropriate parties in time. You must figure out how to control the creativity to a certain extent. Otherwise the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.
I’ve found setting a schedule and observing a daily routine works best. There are times that my appointed times to write conflict with other responsibilities but usually I can get up early in the morning a knock out a few thousand words. It is quietest then and, other than the dog wanted some attention, there are no interruptions or intrusions from the outside world. I can enter the zone and be creative, channeling the flow directly onto a virtual page in my computer.
To write fiction effectively I’ve found it is almost necessary to disengage from the real world for whatever duration necessary to tell a story or part of a story to oneself. If your story is ever going to engage the reader enough to offer and escape from their own reality you must make the fiction believable, regardless of how farfetched the tale you are spinning. That is the art to writing fiction: making believe or more aptly making believers out of skeptical readers. The first step in that direction be selling yourself on an idea and building a world around it into which you can enter and, for whatever time you need to write the tale, jot down every important detail of what your imagination has conjured within your mind.
Writing creatively is as addictive any drug but it can be mentally exhausting. I suppose in some instances it has been painful as well. I believe there are many people who have a creative impulse but substitute substances in lieu of being creative out of avoidance. It is easier to engage the imagination while under the influence. However, it is difficult if not impossible to sustain an artificially induced creative episode long enough to write a story. However, a glass wine or a couple of beers can take the edge off, I suppose, allowing the mind to slip into a relaxed state that is more conducive to facilitating the creative flow. The problem with substances is that abuse comes easily and ingesting or imbibing more doesn’t lead to better products. It is difficult to capture in words what one experiences and almost impossible to fully recall. However, if you expend the effort to regularly engage your creative mind you will need no chemicals to make the magic inside of you happen. Making believe will come to you are regularly as you desire if you are willing to invest the effort and time necessary to train your unruly mind to work for you.
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