You are currently viewing Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

sign with Chaos and Order
There is no denying the romance and excitement of putting off writing until the last minute.  
The rushing, the forgetting, the rising blood pressure.  The deadlines, the finals, the late nights.  Students gathering for days  (or at least a couple hours) in the unfamiliar library stacks  cramming for classes they don’t remember attending.  Office staff clustered around the coffee machine sharing their surprise conclusion that  if they had started their presentation earlier, they wouldn’t be so stressed this Friday afternoon.   
Social media doesn’t help.  There are no popular images depicting a calm person brandishing a scheduling app happy they finished every project ahead of deadline and now grocery shopping ahead of the crowd.  There ARE  countless memes featuring  crazed creatives working up to the last minute, or rushing to their book signings, or just finishing edits before deadline..  Authors are infamous for our  contentious relationship with deadlines, it is part of our story as authors.
But what if crazy, last minute is not part of your story?   
If you are bereft of  harrowing tales about  barely finishing your novel/cover edits/final edits on time, read on. 
This blog was born from a comment made by my significant other.  First thing in the morning, still sitting in our hotel bed, I announced I had finished my blog article ahead of deadline, indeed, ahead of schedule.
He responded:  Of course you did.
He meant it as a compliment, but it was a surprising trigger.  I grew up believing that by definition, organized people are not creative.  The organized  instinct to  finish and file turns us into mere accountants – boring, untalented, blocked from the wild ride that is the creative life. Yet I persist, seemingly against the odds and popular opinion, to create.   
Maybe you do too.   
In the interest of supporting my organized tribe, here are a few ideas about being organized that can enhance rather than detract from your creative pursuits:
More Vibrant Work  
Rather than wasting emotions and time on everyday chaos – you have the energy to capture all the crazy that is not your home life and drop it all into your book.   Maybe you create a favorite character who can never find his keys.
Create more Product
When you finish work, you have time to create more work.  With life under control  (more or less) you free up bandwidth to find another passion, create another piece of art.  You clear space for the second project because you really, truly finished the first.
More likely to get  published.  
You research, you complete,  you spend the time submitting your work to the most likely outlets.  Who knew THAT approach would be successful? 
Yes, the wonderful, crazy chaotic artist does get lucky breaks.  But the author with a well considered MS and a consistently applied strategy finds her own luck.
Submit better work.  
Working ahead allows for more breathing space.  Drafts can be put aside for  months at a time, allowing for more creative editing and better focus.  Not only is time your friend, but your editor will be too.  
The  slap dash, misspelled, poorly formatted doc (rather than docX, please upgrade your Microsoft Suite) is not as inconsequential as you think. Sure the piece could be brilliant, but if it immediately inspires a  sigh, it’s already behind.  Allowing time to create not only the best work possible, but also reviewing the editorial requirements, puts us out of the accounting category and closer to the published author class.  (I did not say perfect, just better.)
There is no right way to create, organized system can be just as creative, as “right”, as any other approach.  Embrace your color coded files, tracked character arcs, and outlines.  You have my full support.  Because I wrote the draft of this article last July.


Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

Leave a Reply