The Creativity Corner: Summer 2018 (Plus, A Question for Readers)

So… in terms of writing, this summer turned out much differently than I’d expected it to. If you read last week’s post on losing the passion for a writing project, then you know part of the story. (More on that shortly.) Yet it wasn’t an unproductive or disappointing season. In fact, some good things happened, like continued excitement about A Literary Tea Party, the cookbook I recently wrote an introduction for. And who knows, there may be more news to share in the future. 😉

I know, I’m being a tease. But one thing that’s clear? The second part of the blog post title. I might be making some changes to this series, and I’d appreciate any input that you, the reader, may have.

Let’s dive in so I can explain things in more detail.

What I’ve Been Writing

Storm (YA Magical Realism)

As I mentioned in the end-of-spring Creativity Corner, one of my summer goals was to finish the first draft of Storm, a YA magical realism novel that follows a girl who suffers from anxiety / panic disorder through her first year of college. And… well, that didn’t happen. :/

Unfortunately, after writing almost 115,000 words, I’m taking a break from Storm. Without repeating too much of last week’s post: I lost the “vision” for the story back in May, after inadvertently taking a two-week break from it. I kept working on it, though, with the hope that eventually I’d “become” the protagonist again and see the other characters, the scene locations, and everything else as clearly as I had before. But after two months, that didn’t happen. And not only did the story seem like it was going nowhere, but I also felt burnt out. My motivation was gone… and it hasn’t come back yet.

There might be a plotting issue with Storm, too. Or, rather, an issue that developed because, unlike my previous manuscript, I didn’t plot it. Instead, when I began working on Storm last year, I plunged into it, probably because of the anxiety I was experiencing at the time. It felt good then – cathartic, even. But one major problem I now see as a result of that approach? I threw every good idea that came to me, from magical realism elements to subplots and supporting characters, into the story. And based on the number of scenes I imagined were left to write, I had maybe another 50 to 60K left to write. 😮

I’d like to think that if I still had the vision and passion for Storm, I’d still be working on it, with the plan to make some hefty revisions and LOTS of cuts in later drafts. And I wouldn’t rule out returning to that story in the future, either… but not until two those crucial ingredients come back to me.

Poetry

Apart from that, poetry became my main focus once I went on break from Storm. And WOW, it’s been on a roll! More new pieces were drafted, more older poems were revised, and more submissions were sent to literary journals. In fact, I doubled the number of submissions I’d set as my goal in the end-of-spring Creativity Corner (four, instead of two); and I already have a list of publications I’d like to submit to for the rest of 2018, based on their deadlines or new submission windows.

So, have I heard from any of the journals I submitted to over the summer? Well… let’s just say that I’ll have more good news to share with you in the weeks to come. 😉 And no, I still haven’t forgotten to share the poem I got the “yes” on earlier this year. I promise to share the link as soon as it’s available!

So, What’s Next Fiction-Wise?

I’m not sure yet, to be honest. A few ideas (all fantasy or speculative in genre) have been floating around in my head, and they’re all limited enough in scope that they would work best as shorter works instead of novels. One is actually an offshoot of a subplot from Storm, and I have a loose outline for it in the works. But I want to have a clearer picture of the protagonist before I dig into the actual writing.

I’m also dabbling in a world-building project, with a fictional setting inspired by the geography, geology, and climate of one of my favorite places in the world: Iceland. (*big smiles*) It will be different than the world of the YA novel I was working on before, especially in terms of people and culture. And, of course, there will be fantastical elements. But right now I’m focusing solely on how the land itself “functions” by researching how tectonic plates, volcanic systems, and glaciers have shaped that island and continue to affect it today. As N.K. Jemisin once said, “Build your world from the ground up – literally.” I’m truly taking that advice to heart, and I’m planning to take my time to get this world right.

Of course, if I’m building a world that’s inspired by Iceland’s nature, I guess I should plan on going back there soon, huh? 😉

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Alison Walsh’s A Literary Tea Party (Cookbook Introduction)

A Literary Tea Party was published in June, and as the “introduction author” I didn’t know what to expect once it was out. But it’s been a lot of fun! I’ve heard from a number of people who bought the cookbook, and they’ve had nothing but praise for not only my contribution, but the book as a whole. Then again, it’s gorgeous “in the flesh.” Alison and her publisher did an incredible job with the overall presentation. I’m just happy I could be a part of the project. 🙂

So what kinds of excitement have I experienced with A Literary Tea Party? Here’s a quick list, with a few photos in the slideshow above.

  • At least six people I know personally have purchased copies of A Literary Tea Party (mostly family and friends, but a couple surprises, too!).
  • Most of those readers also asked me to autograph the page where my introduction appears. (*blushes* )
  • One of those readers (a co-worker at my day job) made one of the cookie recipes and brought them in to share! And boy, were those Dragon Scale Madelines inspired by The Hobbit de-LI-cious.
  • I found copies of A Literary Tea Party at two local Barnes & Noble stores. Yay!
  • An Unlikely Story, the indie bookstore where I go for Open Mic Nights, also has copies of the cookbook in stock. Double yay!!

Hey! Where’s the “What I’ve Been Reading” Section??

I enjoyed so many of the books I read this summer that it was too difficult to narrow it down to five highlights. So, check back next week to learn about my favorite Summer 2018 reads in a separate post. I’m also considering making this separation permanent. That way, I can talk about all the books I enjoyed over the past season instead of just a small handful of them.

Which leads to my other question…

The Future of The Creativity Corner

As much as I enjoy letting readers know what I’m working on, I also realize these posts don’t draw as much traffic as other posts do. So, would you mind if this is the final Creativity Corner post? What if, instead, I included a brief writing update in another regular series? Maybe at the end of the bimonthly What’s Making Me Happy posts?

Obviously I’ll continue working on my projects no matter what. And if I have news to share (poems being published, stories finished, etc.), I’ll let you know in their own posts. But I also want to be sure I’m putting my energy into blog posts that readers will want to check out. So whatever your thoughts might be on this, feel free to share them in your comments on this post.

How is your writing going? Have you ever lost the passion or vision for one project, yet found it strong and alive with another? Also, let me know what you think regarding the future of The Creativity Corner as a series.

24 thoughts on “The Creativity Corner: Summer 2018 (Plus, A Question for Readers)

  1. You certainly have been busy with your writing projects, Sara:). I’m delighted the poetry is working out so well for you. And as for Storm – I think holding off on the rewrites until you have regained some passion for the project is a good idea. I’ll be sorry to see this series of blogs discontinue – I have found them fascinating, but I fully understand. It takes time and effort to craft blog articles and there’s not much point if you only get viewed by a by-passer and his dog…

    I hope the autumn continues with your poetry and look forward to hearing more about your upcoming good news!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know how they say that most parts of the writing / publishing industry is a game of “hurry up and wait”? That’s what it feels like right now, with waiting to share the poetry news and waiting to hear back on the remaining submissions. *lol* But that’s fine. I’m hoping to send out a few more batches in October, when a few other journals re-open for submissions. So, bring on even more waiting. XD

      And thank you for your wisdom regarding Storm and your thoughts on the end of the Creativity Corner. It’s a bit sad for me, too, but I realize it’s important to write blog posts that I enjoy and bring in enough readers both long-time and new. This series hasn’t been as “successful” in the latter as others have been… so I think it’s time for a change in that respect.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – and you’re right. You need to change it up when you feel it’s right. There’s nothing worse than plugging away at something when your passion for it has faded, or you aren’t convinced it is succeeding. And that is the joy of a blog – it belongs to us, so we can alter/tweak and change as we see fit:))

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tammy! Every time I add something to the worldbuilding, it makes me even more excited about the project. But it needs more time and “nourishing” before I’m ready to actually write a story about it. 😉

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  2. Ypu have a lot on your plate. I too get tangled in my plots and need to take breaks, but the longer I stay away the hard it is start again because the refreshing and reminding make it a longer process. One day i just may be able to finish what I start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* It doesn’t feel like a lot, though! Especially since I’m still not committed to any fiction-writing right now. But I agree – the longer you stay away from a project, the more difficult it is to resume working on it later on. Sometimes a couple nights off is all you need. Whatever you do, Antoinette, persist. The desire to succeed with your writing will pay off as long as you don’t give up – and if you do, you’ll finish one of those projects you start. And then another, and then another… 😉

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  3. I’ve just ordered ‘A Literary Tea Party’, even though I’m unusual here in Ireland in drinking mostly coffee. Somehow ‘A Literary Coffee Party’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

    As for losing passion for a project, it’s happened to me often, and not just writing projects. Luckily I’ve been blessed with what I call ‘re-enchantment’ nearly as often, a renewal of interest and enthusiasm. Which is just as well, as I’m not a fast writer, or reader. I try to avoid over-comparing, but there are writers who write faster than I read!

    Thanks for this, and best of luck with all your projects!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, thank you, John! And if you ever touch base with Alison at her blog or social media, please let her know. 🙂

      HAHAHA, no, coffee party just doesn’t have the same ring. Though I bet people do have coffee parties of some kind… but imagine all the caffeine you’d consume at an event like that. XD

      That’s good that you know how to find the magic and enthusiasm for a project when it seems to slip away. And I know the feeling about comparing yourself to other readers or writers. What matters more, though, is that you do both at your own pace and do your best to ignore how quickly other people are finishing projects or publishing novels. It’s much easier said than done, I know, but when you find a way to do it, it’s worth the “reprogramming” of your brain. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like you have some exciting good news coming up then. 😀
    Sorry to hear that the inspiration for Storm has gone. I do hope it’ll work out though and the fantasy project inspired by Iceland sounds great. That made me really curious. By the way, I think you might like this podcast featuring NK Jemisin about world-building: https://www.vox.com/2018/8/27/17779026/ezra-klein-show-book-recommendations-n-k-jemisin-broken-earth-hugo-award
    You gotta scroll to the end of the article for the audio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh yes! I remember reading that Jemisin did a podcast where she talked about worldbuilding. I’ll have to check that out at some point. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

      Yeah, it’s a bit sad about Storm. But it might have been for the best, since other important things (both creative and otherwise) have taken its place in my schedule and in my focus. And even when I’m busy, now and then I think of little details for the worldbuilding project that fit the overall big picture I want to create. So, yeah, it’s a busy time, but also fruitful, I hope. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I figured some readers would be disappointed with the news. :/ But like I said, the Creativity Corner isn’t drawing the same numbers as other posts are. And now that I’m going through a period where I’m not writing any fiction, there isn’t much point to continuing this series. Even the poetry section would be almost word-for-word the same every season (wrote more poems, revised more poems, submitted more poems, cryptic news about responses, etc.). So I’m sorry that you’ll be sad to not see these posts anymore, Tori, but I hope you understand why I’m doing this, too.

      Yes! Definitely look for it at Barnes & Noble, if there are any near you. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Since I write about music and now travel half (or most of the time) since I came back – you can put me in the “change the blog how you feel is best and I will still read it camp,” 🙂 But in all seriousness, I like the summary style that is Creativity Corner, but if you think it is time to move on, then you should. Like you wrote, it’s your space.
    That Literary Cookbook sounds right up my alley! I actually went to a literary tea/book exchange this summer (with some college friends), and it was such a mental and spiritual relief! Just to be surrounded by books, bookish food, and bookish people for a whole afternoon. Marvelous. So I will definitely check out the cookbook. Did it feel strange to autograph it?
    I look forward to hearing about your poetry success! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been doing so well with it.
    Also – I plan on reading your summer reads post next, but skimming over Goodreads I saw that you finally read Mistborn, and I have to gush for a sec – Isn’t it FANTASTIC?! It’s epic fantasy that reminded me why I loved epic fantasy, and the world is so fascinating. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.
    But that is beside the point. I also want to hear more about Iceland. I still want to go there. And it’s actually cheaper to fly there from Michigan than you’d think. Maybe I can figure out a way eventually . . . Either way, I look forward to hearing more about it in later posts 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the Creativity Corner as well. But I think the Favorite Fiction Reads of Summer 2018 has already passed this post in terms of likes, views, and comments, even though the reading post came one week later. So if it’s not drawing as many people… :/

      That tea party / book exchange sounds wonderful! Tea Friend and I have talked now and then about hosting a tea party for our mutual friends, maybe one featuring recipes from the cookbook. Not much progress has been made on that yet – then again, she and I have both been busy. One day, though…

      And yes, it’s been VERY strange to sign the cookbooks. Partly because I’m not the actual author. Yes, I know I contributed to the book, but I’m a little wary of taking too much credit for it. But like someone else told me recently, if people are asking me to sign it, why refuse? They’re showing their excitement for me, and I have every right to join in.

      OMG MISTBORN ALJFALFLKAKLFJALKFJLKAJAAAAAAA. I loved every minute of reading that book, and I now have my own copy (the one I read was borrowed from a friend) AND the second and third books. So guess what I’ll be binge-finishing in the future? 😀

      Ohhhhhh if you want to hear more about Iceland, then stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post. (OK, you won’t learn more about Iceland there, but… NEWS. To share. Yes.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • MISTBORN is amazing. Everything about it.

        Yes – if someone wants you to sign something, you sign it 🙂

        Iceland – now that I am done with the 3io7783@3#$@$ midterms, I can maybe do a burst of blogging and reading posts before things ramp up again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your poetry successes! Congrats on that.

    With the Creative Corner, I’d say it’s your space so do what you feel is best, and we’ll all be fine with that. 🙂

    Iceland!!! Cannot wait to hear more about your new story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’m hoping to send out another poetry submission this weekend, and maybe a couple more before the end of this month.

      And thank you for understanding why this might be the end for the Creativity Corner. I figured most readers would be OK with whatever I decided to do, but I wanted to give you all a chance to offer feedback on my idea before I went ahead with it.

      (*lol*) I think it will be a while before I’m ready to actually write stories set in this new world. Getting the worldbuilding right is more important at the moment, and I’m willing to take my time with it rather than throw ideas together and jump in (which is what I did with TKC). But I’ll definitely keep you guys updated on its progress, however slow it might be. 😉

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  7. Pingback: What’s Making Me Happy: August and September 2018 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  8. Getting to do the introduction to such a uunique book is amazing. 🙂 I shall keep an eye out for the book.

    I enjoy reading the Creativity Corner posts, but I always enjoy all of your posts, so I’m sure that whatever you decide to do with them will be good. Sometimes change is needed to allow us to progress. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really was amazing. Still is, tbh. I’m just glad that I could help Alison in some way. 🙂

      And thanks for your feedback, VP. I’m actually glad that I framed the Creativity Corner post in that way, because something good – potentially exciting – has come up since then. Something that has, in a way, taken up my writing routine temporarily. I’m still writing poems, but… let’s just say that I don’t want to reveal my cards quite yet, but I’ll share the Big Secret Project with you and everyone else here when I’m ready. 😉

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  9. I was pleasantly surprised by the design and illustrations of ‘A LITERARY TEA PARTY’ and I loved your introduction. It’s a book to be perused and consulted rather than read in one sitting but one can devour the full-page pictures all at once, of course. Cooking-wise, I’m an expert at burning water, but I can always learn!

    A world inspired by Iceland sounds great! Iceland has been described as part of the Atlantic Ocean floor that just happens to be above sea level and it looks it. And, speaking of SF and Fantasy, much of the recent Tom Cruise SF movie ‘Oblivion’ was filmed in Iceland, which looks postapocalyptic even apart from the special effects.

    A glacier plays a role in my current WIP, and another of my projects begins with the birth of a volcanic Pacific island, inspired by the dramatic emergence of Surtsey from the ocean off Iceland’s south coast in 1963. You could build your world not just from the ground up but from the bottom of the sea up! And Surtsey is being eroded by wind and waves and could be gone in a century, providing a suitable apocalypse. C. S. Lewis’ Narnia is the only other example I can think of a fictional world described from its creation to its end.

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