The Creative Compass

A book that is helping my writing process is “The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way from Inspiration to Publication” written by Dan Millman and Sierra Prasada.

The authors describe five stages to writing:

Dream: Define Your Story- think about an idea, jot down notes
Draft: Tell Your Story- create the imperfect first draft
Develop: Follow the Golden Thread- writing, cutting, rewriting
Refine: Choose the Right Words- get feedback from readers/editors
Share: Move Your Readers- decide on a mode of publication

My favourite is the Dream stage. I get so many ideas, I think “there is a story here!” But I don’t usually flesh out those ideas and they wait to be developed, brought into the next stage. I have a writing journal that I collect thoughts in, ideas come from dreams, experiences, the news, or just out of the blue. I have a cat facts calendar on my desk. One day it informed me there was a cat named Mincho in Argentina that lived in a tree for six years without touching the ground. She had three litters. Could this be the start of an illustrated children’s book? Why did she stay in the tree? Do other cats in Argentina live in trees? What does this say about her personality? How did she keep kittens from falling out of the tree? Did those cats grow up and return to the ground?

I’m currently drafting a piece of writing about April the Giraffe, the Internet sensation followed by thousands, waiting for her to give birth on live feed. I start writing about April, and answer who, what, when, where, why, how, etc. I begin to tap into a creative place where my thoughts start flowing and I type them all out. I don’t worry about typos yet, and sometimes leave sentences unfinished if I’m not sure where they are going. I watch the live feed, I read what people are commenting, I get more thoughts that I need to write down. I’m now at a place where I’m waiting for the birth, and what happens after the birth. I think I’ve written most of the anticipation section. I could go back and start editing or I could wait until all the rough draft sections are complete.

I’m at the develop stage on a few projects. My short fantasy story “Halomyrne” is a work in progress. I finished the first few drafts in University but it never felt complete, and there was stuff I wanted to change, or didn’t know how to explain. I am now going back and cutting out parts, rewriting parts, adding things. It shows how far I’ve come as a writer that I can look at this piece I once thought was so amazing as kind of amateurish!

I am in the middle of the Develop stage in reading the Creative Compass. I’m enjoying all the insights, and really feeling like I’m meant to write. Even if it’s only an hour a day, it’s going somewhere.

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