Hello and welcome to episode 63 of The Spark & The Art creativity podcast. The weekly podcast where we alternate between interviews with creative folks from many different disciplines all at different levels of their career and insight and inspiration episodes.
I’m your host Tucker and this week is insight and inspiration.
In our last episode we talked with Sean Williams. Sean is a New York Times best selling author with over 40 novels to his credit. He says he writes anywhere from 4 to 6 novels in a year. So what does it take to write that many novels in a year when some authors only have a couple novels in them? First he says he loves to write. He loves the writing process. One of my favourite quotes (which has been attributed to a few writers so I don’t really know who said it) is when an author was asked if they liked writing they responded “I like having written.” That’s not Sean Williams. Sean just loves to be writing.
Of course he didn’t start off writing novels. Just like a runner doesn’t just start running marathons. Film makers don’t start out making blockbusters. Sean started off writing short stories he said during our talk - “I started off writing short stories to experiment with different styles and voice.” I think the best part of that statement was to experiment with different styles and voice. You can’t just dash off your first thing and expect it to sound exactly like you. Your first several pieces of work are going to sound like the things you love - The things that got you into writing in the first place. You’re going to need to experiment to just keep writing. If your a painter you’re going to need to paint fruit-bowl still life and landscapes and portraits until you find what you are most intrigued by. And the most interesting ideas will come when you start combining things. Who’s to say you won’t absolutely fall madly in love with painting bowls of fruit as part of a landscape of the orchard they grew in. If you keep writing in different styles you may find that you love writing zombie romances or some other fantastic thing.
I work with a fellow who is a photographer. When I met him he’d only been playing around with photography for a little while. He took pictures of his kids, people at the park, bubbles, did an engagement photo shoot or two. Then one day I noticed a couple shots of the northern lights in his feed. They were really good. He’d always been interested in weather and clouds. Sometimes when we’d go for lunch he’d point out the kind of clouds that were in the sky. Knew the best apps for weather radar. Knew how to read weather radar. Now, his photos are all awesome shots of lighting storms, crazy cloud formations and aurora borealis. While you could always see his talent in his pictures, you can now see the passion as well as the talent. You can find him, his name is Chris Ratzlaff, on twitter @ratzlaff (I guess I’m a better Canadian than I thought since I just said zed)
I’m still in the process of experimenting with my creative projects. I have a 5 song EP of songs about wanderlust and love-soaked heartache. A kid’s CD with 5 songs and kids’ book (with another one to be competed soon) I’m working on gluten-free glow-in-the-dark play dough (I’m just finishing up the packaging for that one should be available soon.) While none of these feel connected I’m starting to put together a plan for what they could all mean for me in the future. You can hear about my decision to start a Body Of Work rather - to just get projects out rather than just choosing to focus on one thing and try to figure out how to make money from it - in the third episode you can find it at TheSparkAndTheArt.com/3
Here’s where you get to do some thinking
- Is there anything you are putting off because you can’t figure out exactly what it is you want to do?
- Do you have a couple interests you could combine into a new thing?
- What if you took some of your dedicated project time and created some experimentation time?
- You do have a dedicated time to do your projects right?
- If you are hesitant to try some experiments, what is the concern?
Thanks for listening and remember you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.