Overactive Creative Juices

Sometimes I don't know when to calm down my overactive creative juices. They drive me to work on too many projects at once. I write multiple stories for my different publishers and struggle sometimes to keep each character assigned to ONLY his/her story. Sometimes these characters want to jump into someone else's story just to drive me nuts, contrary people that they are. In this instance, I think they're using their own creativeness by wanting to see themselves somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else. Nutty characters! (Oh, no, maybe that's me for even thinking this way.)

Recently I went to and joined a quilt guild where I ran into a couple hundred truly amazing quilters. My meager skills really looked bad, but I'm still learning. These people create some beautiful quilts, most of them from familiar patterns (to them, not to me). But the lady doing the program that day was so entertaining, so enjoyable as she showed off about 40 of her collection of finished quilts. She started off by asking the crowd of long-time quilt fanatics if they had fabric stashed in their closets, under their beds, in various nooks and crannies. I don't, but my sister does.

Anyway, this reminded me of writers. Most of us talk about having early works stashed away under beds, in boxes, on flash drives, etc.

She went on to show us her first quilt, less than as perfect as her newer ones but still far better than my first one was. She retired from IBM (a big dog with the company) and decided she wanted to quilt. She got a book, skimmed through it, and dived into making that first quilt. Then she took it to a quilting group and they asked her, "Did you wash the fabrics first?" Of course, she gaped at them, not having known this RULE.

Again, this reminded me of a new writer. We read how-to-write books, then dive in and create our first book. Missing a few gazillion of the "rules."

The lady went on to show us quilt after quilt, each with some kind of history of her stepping stones in her quilting career. Making mistakes, learning the "rules," but not giving up. Over 400 quilts later she is still whipping these babies out. Now she is designing some of her own patterns, using her creative talents in another way.

That's how I see my writing career. Writing, learning the "rules," and continuing on my merry way.

I also do this with my quilting, of which I prefer to do quilt photo art projects. Meaning I take a photo from a favorite place I've been, sketch it out, plan what fabrics to use, and then create a one-of-a-kind quilt project. They're not perfect, probably never will be...but I don't care. They mean something to me. This is one I'm still working on, the Tuck Box, which is a funky little restaurant in Carmel, CA and a favorite place for my daughter and I to go. Forgive me if I've shown you this before.


Penny Rader said...

Thanks for sharing, Starla! I used to sew, many moons ago (and I did have fabric stashed all over the place!). I regret not asking my grandma to teach me to quilt before she died. Crochet is more my thing now. Can't knit worth spit.

Looking forward to seeing more of your projects (both writing and quilting).

Pat Davids said...

Starla, I am ever in awe of your fertile mind. Not only do you write faster than a dervish whirles, but now I learn you've added quilting to you basket full of talent.

You go girl.

It's so true that writers often start out without knowing all the "rules". It can make for a bumpy career if you learn them the hard way, but it's only after you've learned them that you can figure out how to break them and shine doing it.

Melissa Robbins said...

You made me laugh Starla saying your characters want to jump into other stories. We're writers. We're all crazy. I'm even worse since I'm a mystery writer. I think about how to kill people. :0/

I was told by a quilter at a craft show that even the best quilters 'make' a mistake in their quilts because only God can make a perfect quilt.

Starla Kaye said...

Penny, I used to crochet, too. Afghans, doilies, snowflakes for the Christmas tree. I liked it, but doubt I'll ever do it again.

Pat, my problem is I like to try/do too many things. I don't see that changing.

Melissa, I suppose you're right about only God making the perfect quilts. But, boy, some of those ladies come awful close.

Joan Vincent said...

Starla I've quilted for years--long before I started writing and I never saw the correlation before. What a fertile and inventive mind you have. I, too, am in awe over all you have and continue to accomplish.