Everyone needs a spark!
In his Masterclass presentation, author Neil Gaiman mentions that he had an idea for a story about a child that grew up in a cemetery. At that point in his life, he believed that he didn’t have the skill to write the story that he wanted. So he shelved the idea. Decades passed before he felt he was ready to write it. The original spark for The Graveyard Book finally ignited and was published in 2008, at least twenty years later.
Not to compare myself too closely to Neil Gaiman, I do this a lot. Over the years, I’ve found the tiniest kindling of an idea and I don’t really know what to do with it. I have this tiny bit of fluff, this nothing, this debris that floats in the wind. If I’m lucky, ideas snap together like flint and steel. There’s a flash, a click, another flash, and maybe I can feel the idea warming up to me. If I put in the effort, I have a draft for a poem or a short story or even another novel. But even then, I always have this nagging doubt: is it good enough?
Auguste Rodin said, “The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.”
I think this is true for me just as it was for Neil Gaiman and Rodin.
As I’ve educated myself about what makes a good writer and what makes good writing, I’ve grown and my work has warmed me. I’ve read about the struggles of other writers, I’ve read books from experts, and I’ve listened to podcasts. It’s interesting how once I step outside this solitary effort of feeding the creative spark and engage with more experienced writers, that I find out how to best make my passions grow.
I’ll always need new sparks.
I know that this works for other writers too. Since 2014, I have the pleasure of leading 10 Minute Novelists, an international group of writers of all kinds. Over the years, the volunteer staff and I have held online chats and webinars. We’ve created subgroups and answered thousands of questions. We’ve seen countless individual authors grow in their skill and discipline and we’ve all been warmed by #AuthorHappiness as the sparks of our ideas increase into bigger and better flames. In 2018 we held our first ever live conference. We’re delighted to announce we’re doing this again!
Mark your calendars for July 15-17, 2021! 10 Minute Novelists is holding another conference!
Our theme? Spark Your Passion. Ignite Your Story.
In the greater Cincinnati, OH area, (at the Embassy Suites, just like last time) we’ ll be hosting Angela Ackerman, Eric Smith, Steven James, and Tex Thompson. You don’t want to miss this great event!
In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pre-registration details, hotel reservation links and FAQs. We can’t wait to see you in Cincinnati, we expect it to be a fire like no other.