Laying the groundwork for any creative endeavor (or any undertaking, really) is vitally important, but it is also so difficult! When you picture a painter, you imagine the artist at the canvas slapping paint all over. You don’t imagine the hours of sketching, of studying the anatomy of whatever the subject is, of prepping the background, of trying to figure out where the light source is going to be coming from. When you picture a writer, you imagine the furious typing of a keyboard or ink-stained hands clutching a pen as the muse flows, not the hours of daydreaming, outlining, and researching. When you picture a musician, you imagine someone sitting down at the piano and having a full song pour out of them, not the time spent hunched over trying to translate the music in your head to the paper, agonizing over a single chord or length of note. But the reality, at least for me, is that the ground work takes up as much time (if not more) than the actual “creation” itself.
Right now, I am finishing up the outline on a graphic novel (my current big writing project). My outlines tend to be more of a “key plot points” plus notes on any particulars regarding characters, places, etc (a story bible), verses a traditional outline. And the outline for this graphic novel is taking me a while because I’ll outline a little bit, then have to think and dream on the story before outlining a little more. I need to get to know my main character a little better so I can better understand how he will respond to the situation that I have put him in. Part of me wants to dive into writing, but I know that I’m better off waiting until I understand that main character a little better.
I’ve also begun the agonizingly slow (for me) process of writing out the melody of several of my songs and trying to capture the piano part. Some people may be able to just sit down and play, but I don’t want to improvise my songs each time I play them. Someday, maybe, I’ll have money to buy software where I can just play and the software will capture what I’m playing and tell me what key signature and time signature I probably want the song to be in, but until I get to that point, I must do things the old-fashioned pencil on staff paper way, and then input that into my music software. SO SLOW. But important so that I can perfect each song.
So I’m in the not-so-fun portion of a few of my creative projects, where I’ve got to actually force myself to do the work because it IS work instead of play. But I will prevail. And I hope all of you do the same on your endeavors. Because it is worth the effort. I promise.