Artists see the world differently.
This applies to all creatives, but I think it differs depending on what kind of outlet you enjoy. As a writer/theatre person, I've noticed that I look at things differently than my husband who is a musician.
My husband, daughter, and I are all involved in the performing arts. My son is not interested at all. He is a visual artist. He thinks in sculptures and drawings. His first thought upon seeing my husband's new kayak was, "Can I draw on it?".
Now, to the point of this post. I have published 6 books since I started seriously writing. For the first 5 books, I used the generic cover designer. They looked okay, but they didn't look professional. There are so many aspects to consider in cover design, and I am not a artist. I tried my best, but I just do not have the talent.
My husband met a graphic artist/comic book artist and made a connection. I loved his style and worked with him on the cover of SuperGym. It was incredible. Somehow, he was able to take my disjointed rambling ideas and make the cover I didn't even know I wanted. It was so much better than anything I could have even imagined.
Check it out:
Love it. So much.
I am working on a second edition of my second book right now. It's hopefully going to be done in time for my girl's birthday. I want it to look as professional as possible, so I contacted my cover guy.
This is what he had to work with: "It's a YA, magical realism story about a girl who lives with her "witch" great grandmother and eventually discovers she is also a witch and is being hunted by an evil spirit. There is a large hedge maze that features prominently in the story."
He asked for a few details about the girl's appearance, and a few days later he sends me a mock-up of the cover that is absolutely perfect. Again, it is better than anything I could have ever imagined. I am so excited to see the finished product.
Writing books is the easy part. Selling books is more difficult.
I'm learning a lot about marketing and selling books, but it can get really overwhelming. I need to always have a creative outlet, and lately that's been plays.
Normally, I write plays for middle school aged kids. They're fun, silly, and weird, and I really enjoy writing them. I usually write them for my students, so I have an idea of who will be playing what part* and when the performance will take place.
*Confession: I've written parts for certain students before. They can be such a great source of inspiration.
This time, I am writing something different. A play for adults. Nothing quirky or fantastical. It's all based in reality - which is a definite departure from the norm. It's still funny, maybe a little dark (like most of my writing), and completely different from anything else I've written.
I have no plan for it. I'm not sure what will come of it (if anything), but I really like it. It's been a nice distraction from marketing headaches. I find writing plays so relaxing, and I'm looking forward to the next steps. Hopefully, I'll see it on stage some day.
I have one other project that I'm currently working on - in addition to the numerous other projects on pause right now. My daughter is always asking if she can read my books. Considering the content of my books, the answer has always been "not until you're older."
One day I was clearing out my bookshelves, and I found an old proof copy of a YA book I wrote. It was actually the second book I ever wrote. I liked it, but I took a break from writing for a little while and kind of forgot about it. I switched publishers and didn't think about it again until my girl wanted to read my writing.
It needed some work. My writing has definitely improved in the last eight(?!) years, and I wanted to give my girl my best work. So, the project I am mostly focused on right now is to revise, re-format, and re-publish my second book. I talked to my cover guy, and he is working on a gorgeous new cover for it. Really hoping to have it ready for her birthday.
Where does creativity come from?
I've been floundering around between several projects for the last couple weeks. I'm getting things done that need finishing. I've been making progress, but it's so scattered that I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything.
I tried several times during the last couple weeks to sit down and write something, but it just wasn't happening. I don't like to think of it as writer's block. More like I just put out something I have been working on for years, and I needed some time for my creative reservoirs to refill.
Today, I had an idea. It's something that has been floating around in my head for a while now, and today I was ready to write it. I'm not sure why it all came together today, but whenever I can, I try to sit down and write when the mood strikes. I wrote a new 10 minute play this morning. There's a local playwriting contest coming up, and I think I may submit it. Why not?
My creativity is on its way back! It just needed a little vacation.
Meanwhile, I am still putting my book out there. SuperGym: Get Fit or Die Trying is a dystopian fitness nightmare that will keep you guessing until the end.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.