One more post from the blog I kept in 2005. The goal was to write every day, sometimes twice a day. Several of the posts explored the creative process — and my creative process in particular. I’m sharing them here in a “blast from the past” series.

Today’s post was originally published on May 30, 2005 (evening)

More from the Archaic MacIntosh


Blast from the PastApparently I tried some stream of consciousness writing in 1997. I sat down and just typed about writing and examined several of my existing stories for potential re-working as short stories. I then tried a dialogue game: I took several random lines from Jane Austen and tried to come up with a story to go with them.

Reading my creative process as it happened was surprising. One paragraph is frustration that the exercise isn’t working and then I have pages of outlining a story — a complicated interaction regarding genius, work, and the nature of relationships — seemingly from nowhere. I know that it came from my head, my imagination (though, admittedly, some is from my own life and some elements taken from established fiction), but there is no indication on the page as to what sparked that story. If I take the process at face-value, then the process is what created it. I step-by-step asked myself questions and the answers came from the questions. However, I know that that is simplistic. Yes, answers come from questions, but it’s just as easy to generate bad answers as good ones, and these were better than my average. Given that the first attempt in the document was icky and rejected before fully-formed proves that. So, somewhere in my mind, the better story appeared and why and how is still a mystery.

I’ve written many times about the process and trying to find ways to improve my process, to find ways to make these ideas flow and to discipline myself into writing more often and more creatively (less analytical and reflective/journaling). I am starting to collect ideas for writing exercises and perhaps, with my new resolve, I will employ some of them in this twice-daily practice. And, perhaps, some good stories will emerge, as they did when I tried the writing exercise back in 1997.