Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creativity: get it in capture mode

Be ready to pounce on the writing moment.
So last week I blogged about how creativity can be dependent upon routine.  I do use this to a degree during the summer months, but I am just as likely to use the capture mode.

This is when you sit down to do one thing and inspiration hits.  It stops everything: "I have to write now" time. This happens to me fairly regularly. It is not that I have the kind of life that I can put things off any time I want to sit down and write. I don't, far from it. But I have learned that when I feel the need to write, I better look around and see if I can arrange it without delay.

I teach English, probably one of the most planned, graded and time-consuming subjects to teach. I happen to enjoy teaching it, but it is a life eater. So if there is a moment free, the first thing I do is sit a quite moment and see if anything has been waiting to bubble up. There will be a rise of excitement in my chest, much like when I know there are only three more days before I am heading out on a long-awaited trip. I listen for a stream of dialogue running through my mind, look for an image rising out of the silence and words playing bumper cars between my ears.  Time to sit down and write.

This is capture mode. Grab it while the grabbing has a chance at nipping at the heels of a plot, post, character sketch, etc. I once stopped my husband mid-drive to a bicycle race to buy me a notebook and pencil. I needed to write that moment and had potentially hours of quiet writing time ahead of me between driving to the race and back over the mountains to and from Eugene's Tandem Classic (the Burley Classic, I believe now defunct, and before you ask, this is before the invention of the laptop).  When the urge is there, take advantage of a ready mind.

This is writing on the run and has the likelihood of being intensely productive because the time could disappear at any moment, so there is no room for sharpening a row of pencils, finding the perfectly flat piece of paper or the cozy niche no one is likely to stumble into. You may have to sit in the stiff- backed wooden chair with the tippy corner; ignore the seat belt, blasting radio and kid kicking the back of your seat; lean against the wall, hair whipping in your face, paper leaping up where your fingers can't stretch to hold it down while you write. Yup, you don't even have time to hunt; just pounce and land on the scittering, scattering words, grab with straining claws, pull them to your chest, and start laying out one word at a time (though if any one knows of a way to simultaneous set out words in lumps I want to hear about it).

So that's capture mode. What examples of capture mode have you experienced?  I'm sure you've had a few wild writing stories you could tell, so share them here.

Next creative post: building desire to write.

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