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  • The Creative Process: From Illegible Scribblings to a (Self-Proclaimed) Masterpiece
The Creative Process: From Illegible Scribblings to a (Self-Proclaimed) Masterpiece
Contributor
Written by
Taylor Black
March 2011
Contributor
Written by
Taylor Black
March 2011

When pen and paper meet there's no telling what will come of their union. The creative process in itself is just as fantastical as the work produced. I'm sure it's different for everyone (as creativity in itself is unique). The shaping of the words themselves mirroring the inner-workings of the individual. Frenzied and erratic for some while structured and methodical for others. Mine goes a little something like this:

So it's 2AM, I've just finished the mountain of homework my teachers set before me each night and my brain is screaming for sleep. My head meets the pillow and my eyelids shut tight, closing up shop for the day. Reality is beginning to dim as I descend into sleep. I'm on the precipice of a dream, when suddenly an unwelcome and particularly bothersome visitor comes knocking, forcing me back into consciousness. It's an idea. Great, just what I need right now.

*Thoughts whilst in a sleepy haze* Why do you always make an appearance at such an ungodly hour? Seriously, I would have gladly welcomed you in at any time of the day before now. You could have made yourself comfortable, while I put on some tea and fixed a snack. Then we could have sat down together like civilized beings and sorted this whole mess out. But, as always, you come when you please and, as always, I can never turn you away.


Fearing that the idea will leave at any second, abandoning me forever, I reluctantly switch on the lamp by my bed and pull out a notebook and pen (which are always resting on a nearby shelf for this exact purpose). Quickly scribbling down some notes, I satisfy myself with the knowledge that our little appointment has ended.

I return to thoughts of sleep. Again, reality blurs and I'm descending back into....Gah! Where did you all come from? In a weird twist of circumstances the ideas have somehow multiplied and are swimming around in the recesses of my mind, refusing to leave. They assume the characteristics of electric eels, stinging the walls of my imagination, and commanding my attention. Once again I grab my notebook and pen, but at this point I'm too tired to bother with a light. The darkness of night blinding my vision, I write them all down as quickly as possible, not caring whether they will be legible in the morning. I just want them gone. When my work is done, sleep comes easily.

I'm up with the sun. I know I have to get ready for school, but I can't resist taking a look at what my nightly exploits have produced. You know in a horror movie when everyone's yelling, "Don't open the door!" well...this is one of those times. It's quite horrifying. The whole page is a mess of incoherent ramblings written over, under, and around one another. There's random pencil marks, seemingly without purpose, and it's near impossible to tell where one word ends and another begins. And all of this is written in a handwriting that could be easily mistaken for some ancient script that was long ago abandoned by civilization.

By homeroom I've deciphered my 2AM scribblings and begun to form coherent ideas. Throughout the day I'll take advantage of particularly tedious classes to brainstorm and organize the piece. When I get home I'll type it all up and begin the actual writing. I'll spend a good 15 minutes obsessing over the first sentence before the creative "zone" takes effect and I write for a solid 20-30 minutes straight before reaching a mental block or some sort of distraction. After a short break which usually involves coffee and some sort of food, I return to writing, reread what I've written, realize that it is a grammatical failure and then obsess over mending it until I'm satisfied with its perfection. Then I'll continue. Slowly at first, as my ideas trickle back into clear view, until a flood of them suddenly rushes out, as if bursting from a dam. I'll proceed to type in a kind of frenzy until the flood drains and I feel satisfied that I am emptied of all I wanted to express.

I will then go back and painstakingly edit the piece, adding in neat little descriptive phrases and metaphors that will hopefully speak far more than the words on the page. When all this is finished my piece is usually considerably longer than my first frantic draft and, even more importantly, is actually decipherable to the human eye. Writing is a wonderful thing isn't it?

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