On opening up space

“If you build it, he will come.”  So says the voice that whispers to Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams.  So what does Kevin’s character do?  He builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield.  And what happens? The 1919 Chicago White Sox, or, rather, their ghosts, show up.  He creates an open space and it gets filled.

Every one of my writing classes energizes me for my next step, whether that step is another synopsis rewrite, expanding the latest synopsis into a fuller outline (the current prospect), writing or revising scenes, or literally standing up and acting out scenes to get inside my characters’ heads.  I was fighting with that outline prospect one night last week when I was too tired to think.  Not wanting to retire without at least trying, though, I picked up a small notebook about the size of a 3x5 index card and jotted notes for a photo project idea I’d had in the car that day.  Yeah, I know.  Not about fiction.  But what that page did was allow me to get that idea out of my brain and onto paper so I didn’t have to worry about forgetting it. 

It opened up space for thoughts about fiction to bubble to the surface.  I turned that page and wrote at the top of the next: “TGR ideas for plot structure” and started brainstorming.  (TGR is the acronym for the novel’s working title.)  It only took a couple of minutes of staring at the grey lines on the page before I started scribbling.  Ten minutes later, I’d covered four of the small pages and had a clear picture of what scenes I needed to write next, and new thoughts on how to work the storyline.   

I finally put the notebook down, satisfied with what I’d written, happy I’d taken an admittedly brief length of time to do something creative.  It was proof one doesn’t have to dedicate hours upon hours to create something, that some days all that’s needed is a commitment to creating and a few minutes to act on it. 

Opening the notebook and writing titles on the pages seemed to be all it took to jot one idea down and open up space for each next idea to make itself known.  

So tonight I’m raising my cuppa’ to acting upon creative commitments and opening up space for new ideas to grow.

What actions allow your imagination to thrive, and how do you make and keep your commitments to yourself and your creativity?

A sneak peek at a few filled spaces