At the Creative Life Event, Victor one the raffle for a pass to Harbour Dance. Photo credit: Sot Photography

This month has been special. It has filled my heart with hope for all the possibility that’s still out there.

Hey, I may be thirty, but I’m still young.

The speakers at Creative Life’s first event were a real inspiration. I asked only one question of them but their answer was truly helpful.

I wanted to know how to deal with… maybe I’ll call it an excess of creativity, in order to be generous.

That is to say, if you write, act, draw – and within all that you’re dreaming up new projects all the time – how do you keep track of all these things and bring them to fruition without, for example, using the voice you developed for your play in your screenplay, or losing track of important plot details?

The overarching answer, it seemed to me, was to, whenever possible, do one thing at a time. That’s really hard for me.

Up until recently, I couldn’t even write without having some music playing, or a tv show on, or something to divide my attention. But I’m trying it out because, well, the panelists at the event have credentials. They finished things that are successful and they’re just like you and me. I figure, why not?

The Experiment

And here are the results of my experiment as it develops.

I’m writing a short story that’s becoming less and less short. And I’m writing it very eagerly, because I have a play that’s long overdue being finished, and then an idea for a web series whose time has come. But I’ve told myself, one thing at a time, which means I don’t get to play in my other self-created Universes until I at least have the first draft down for this one.

The desire to move on to the next project does a neat little trick to my mind.

The further self imposed boundary to not reveal what I’ve written until it’s done is like an itch I can’t scratch. Every time the temptation to send a chapter out here, or a particularly good passage out there, I have to remind myself my only choice is to present the thing whole. I’ve almost succumbed to temptation, but then I’d sit down and write some more.

And it’s not like the story is flying out of my head. After the prologue was written, I’d sit down and only one paragraph would come out in hours, obsessive as I am for what I deem to be perfection. But a few days later, I would get three out, and recently I wrote a whole page in a day.

I feel very accomplished.

Another thing I’ve discovered about writing this way is that it’s very similar to reading. I’ve been devouring the works of Isaac Asimov, always waiting to see the solution to something he’d set up early on in his stories.

When I sit down and write, I ask myself, “I wonder what will happen next?” And then I answer it.

It’s way easier this way, and I guess it hasn’t worked for me before because I didn’t try it on the right story, or because I became distracted by the twenty or so other creative things vying for airspace in my brain.

One thing at a time makes it so those other things almost literally push the story at the head of the line out faster. I’m very happy to be surrounded by creative people, supportive people, successful people. It makes the process that much more enjoyable.

An experiment in doing one thing at a time – by Victor Ayala
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