Monday, March 25, 2013

My Creative Process: The Stinky Snoozy Truth by Ariella Papa


I have a friend who is a rock star. She is a singer-songwriter. Sometimes when I turn on the TV, I catch one of her songs in the soundtrack and it makes me proud.
She is also REALLY good about keeping her fans in the loop of what is up with her in an authentic way. I envy that and I feel I have a lot to learn about being  more open and engaging my readers. Recently she sent out a dispatch about the making of her latest album complete with photos of the process. I enjoyed the pictures of the snowy cabin she went up to for the weekend with her gear and guitars and the shots of her and a bunch of cute boy musicians sitting around making music. There was video of some rough jams that still sounded awesome, like an old-school MTV Unplugged. It was all super creative and fun.

I began to imagine what it would be like if someone was here documenting my process and how different it would be. What exactly would these masochists documentarians find? Many days, if I am writing, the only thing cute around here is the dog and she distracts me with her adorableness so much that I can't possibly figure out how to work through that slow middle section. Though I do have an actual desk, I write a lot of it from the couch. My battered computer is my only real gear. Truly a lot of the pictures would just be of me staring into space waiting, wondering, hoping that the ideas will flow. The photographer would probably get a number of shots of procrastination–be it checking my Amazon status, going to the fridge for my fifth slice of Colby Jack or just a teeny scoop of hummus and of course the ever constant google searches which might start with how to spell an Italian expression   and end in video tutorial of how to make Korean short ribs. 

Like, I guess, Tori Amos on her piano, I do sort of bang on my keyboard when I get going. This makes people think I am a fast typer, but no, nope just a loud one. But maybe this would be something for the videographer. Music, if you will. (I know, I know, you probably won't, though you might if you were going down the search engine rabbit hole and couldn't figure out how to end the chapter.) 

And then just when the deadline is really looming, I hunker down, I actually move to the desk and forgo the constant snacking. When I'm in the weeds, I  stay in my jammies, not brushing my hair or really thinking about what I might smell like. That would be one for the fans.

What about YOU? What's does your process look and sound like? What great tidbits have YOU uncovered about the universe when you should have been making your dialogue sound more real? And is that the smell of creativity or just forgotten deodorant? Let's discuss.

Ariella Papa is the author of Momfriends and more. Her latest novel, A Semester Abroad, will be out very soon.

10 comments:

  1. I laughed when I read this because when I'm more on "dead" than "line," I usually can't remember when I last ate with a utensil or took a shower.. Dis-gusting, but it's the only way I push to finish. A relief to know I'm in good company!!

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    1. Thanks, Christa. On one hand it's great to get caught up in what we are doing and on the other it's kind of yuck.

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  2. I'm not so smelly...but my house, yes! If we had a reality show about novelists writing, it wouldn't be very popular! I don't think it ever looks like much from the outside because it's such an inside process. Of course, I look best while writing and eating chocolate!

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    1. Thanks, Samantha. With the right editing and music we could make that reality show about the snacking messy house writers a hit.

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  3. Love this, Ariella! My process looks very similar to yours!!

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    1. I bet it does! I was sans children on Saturday so you can imagine how it got. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Found a link to this post on Jacqueline Luckett's FB page and am glad I followed it. I laughed out loud! I too would like to keep my readers (and potential readers) in the loop but am afraid the loop may be cracked if not broken. A filmmaker following my progress would see a lot of list-making, staring into space, and heading for the corner cafe to stare into space somewhere else. I think I'd be better off with an animator trying to get at the strange stuff that unfolds in my head.

    Looking forward to your novel, A Semester Abroad. Maybe I could review it on missmoveabroad.com

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    1. Ah, yes, the old change of space trick. I know it well. At least at the cafe around the corner there is no "my fridge" or dog. So that helps the focus, but an animator inside would be great.

      I would LOVE for you to review it on your site. Can you email me at ariella@ariellapapa.com and let me know the best way to get it to you.

      Thanks.

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  5. Ha! My process is about as glamourous as yours but lately has included a lot more yoga (which is good for staving off the pounds gained refridgerator hopping - and by hopping I mean from freezer to fridge...)

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  6. Love- love -love this and think it is YOU who are the rockstar!! ;)xoxo

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