When was the last time you visited a museum or attended a concert? Visited a historical site? Ate at a great restaurant? The draw of all these activities is rooted in our desire to experience that which stirs the senses, whether it be sight, taste, sound, smell, or touch. The people behind these experiences, the painters, musicians, architects, or chefs, all have one thing in common – they create.
The word ‘create’ is simple, yet powerful. Everything that surrounds us is a result of an act of creation. From the first moments we discover the use of our hands, we create. As children, we spent a great deal our energy creating crayon art, play dough sculptures, sand castles, digital worlds, Lego worlds, and endless stories.
As adults, we have less and less time to spend in carefree acts of creation. I find this sad, but I’m guilty of it as well. Ever since I shifted my writing from something I did as a hobby to a career, that element of carefree play has been lost. Each time I sit down to write or edit something, it’s to meet a deadline, a goal, or a career milestone.
That said, I still enjoy the act of creating new ideas and putting those ideas into a story. There is a rush of fulfillment and joy every time I get to hold a new book or anthology in my hands for the first time. Finishing a project that has taken weeks, or months, or even years is an emotional thing.
Using ‘create’ as a power word means to remind myself how much I enjoy the process of writing. It’s a reminder to make progress on other creative projects, like the half-finished crochet Totoro that’s been stuffed in a box. It’s gentle encouragement to try something new.
Ultimately, the joy that comes from creating art; whether it be visual, edible, or word driven, can’t come from any other pursuit. It’s the ability to look at something with pride and say, “I made that.”
Artists and creatives, including writers, come in all different varieties. Some are organized. Some work fast. Some like to follow their muse all over the place. Some have unique rituals they follow. What we all have in common is a passion for creating our own unique form of art.
Holli Anderson, friend and Chief Editor at Immortal Works Press, is here to talk about what it’s like to be an author with a chaotic creative mindset, and to give us a tour of her creative space.
Inside the Head of a Writer
By Holli Anderson
Hi! I’m so happy to be a guest here on Jodi’s blog! I’ll
start with a short introduction. My name is Holli Anderson, I write YA and MG
under this name that happens to be my real name. I write Adult Romantic
Suspense under the name H.L. Anderson – which is my real name using initials…
Besides being an author, I’m also a mom to four grown boys,
a grandma to a girl (who is nine and a half and can’t wait until she turns
eleven and receives her Hogwarts letter – because I am that awesome of a grandma) and a boy (age five, and whose sister
and I are indoctrinating into an HP lover as well), a wife to one man-boy, a
registered nurse, and Chief Editor of a small publishing company. The reason I
tell you all this is; it might help explain why my mind is in such continual
Now, back to my head. My brain is always running a million
miles an hour in a gazillion different directions. It can sometimes be
difficult to grab an idea out of this pandemonium—that’s why I know, when I
latch onto an idea that shines brighter than the rest, it must be a GREAT idea.
That’s when the plethora of notebooks I keep hanging around come in handy,
they’re where I write these GREAT ideas down (moment of truth here: they aren’t
always GREAT ideas, sometimes they turn out to be GROAN-WORTHY ideas when I go
back and look at them later).
There have been times when I’ve been somewhere I can’t write
an idea down – like driving, or in the shower – during these times of immense
duress I have to resort to repeating the idea over and over in my mind until I
can get to where I can safely (and dryly) write it down. The book I’m working
on right now was one such GREAT idea. My husband knows this is what’s happening
when I burst through the door after work and show him the palm of my hand as I
frantically dig through my backpack to grab a notebook and pencil (yes
pencil—all GREAT ideas must be written in pencil).
(FYI—as I was writing the above paragraph a FOX ran down the
sidewalk across the street and partially into a neighbor’s yard before taking
off the way it had come. I had to run
outside to tell my husband and son, who are changing brakes on a car—and they didn’t believe me!)
This is getting a little longer than I had planned, but I
need to explain one more thing about this author’s head. EVERYTHING around me,
every trip to the store, every date with my husband, every walk around the
neighborhood—everything—can be turned into something to do with Harry Potter,
Supernatural, LOTR, or The Avengers. EVERTYTHING. Drives my husband crazy. How many
times he’s said to me, “You know that isn’t real, right?”
That’s when I mumble “Muggle” under my breath and continue
The pictures scattered throughout this blog are pictures of
my office/library. I think they help explain my head to you. This is the room
that calms me. Makes me smile. Helps me write. It’s my favorite room in the