How To Write A Novel: Episode 5


One of my favourite creative gurus and writers, Liz Gilbert, suggests that in order for the ‘Big Magic’ of creativity to hit us we have to be open to it. She postulates that ideas are not mined from our subconscious or conscious but rather exist in the universe; glittering entities that choose their maker.

Those who have spent significant time creating works of art and capturing moments of inspiration will find this idea non-too-strange. It’s not unknown for an author to struggle with a character or a plot point for hours, days or weeks only for a solution to strike us in midst of a mundane task or at three in the morning. Don’t all epiphanies arrive this way? Wasn’t Archimedes in the bath when he had his Eureka moment? Isaac Newton was relaxing under a tree when inspiration literally struck him on the head, in the form of an apple.

On BBC’s Desert Island Discs, song writer, Noel Gallagher describes his creative process similarly: “If I think about it too much then I’ll ruin the magic (speaking about creativity). I still believe that there’s someone up there just dropping ‘songs’ all over and if I’m not ready to catch them, Chris Martin will get them.”

Gilbert expands on this idea, saying that some ideas will stay with us for a while but if we’re not ready for them, they move on to the next willing artist.

So this week’s novel writing advice is to carry a notebook, tuck it in your handbag, your pocket, your shoe! You could use your phone but I believe there is something that encourages the creative centres in your mind when you move your hands, particularly when writing or drawing. When that bolt of inspiration strikes, jot down a few trigger words that will lead you back to your brilliant idea later. Catch those creative ideas and stir up some Big Magic.

Happy Writing!

On Twitter: @LivKiernan


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