Mar 1, 2012

What is the Creative Process?

I'm pleased to have author Toby Neal as a guest today, discussing creativity. Take it away Toby...

What is the Creative Process?
Different for everyone, sure. For me, it’s connected to daydreaming, and then making and doing stuff.
Yeah, real scientific.

Mulling, wandering, chewing a bit of grass as I kick a pebble on my walk with my (small/fuzzy/ridiculous) dogs, I think of a new scene.

Tilting my head to spot a flamenco dancer in the shape of a cloud. I take an Istagram pic of it (find me at tobyneal0)!

Chasing the aforementioned dogs away from a mysterious dirt patch in the middle of the ball field just the size of a body, I see a future crime scene for my novel. 

Dreaming of other lives connected to all the woulda-coulda-shouldas of my own life, a never-ending branch of dimensional worlds connected to choices that may or may not be realities—I jot a poem. It’s pretty bad, but there’s a germ of something there.

Creativity is connected to that glimmer, that flash, the ink of an idea spreading through the water of consciousness and tinting it something new. Writing is escape for me, and distraction, and renewal on so many levels, but in addition creativity’s been expressed in my life by spinning beads out of the hot honey of molten glass. Stitching beadwork so tiny and intricate it makes my eyes ache to look at it. Twisting and stringing jewelry out of all the elements I liked to create separately. 

Crochet: mindless dance of a hook among threads. My brain really floats with crochet. If only anyone wanted all those damn scarves and hats I’ve made here in Hawaii!

Painting: another passion that rears its head periodically with a longing for the brush, the  smell of the paint, the seductive blobs of color like molten jewels. 

Gardening: creating a feast for the senses with God’s help.
Dance: expressing stories within me through movement.
Working with children—playing, laughing, creating, crying, telling the stories of wounds and fear and ferris wheels too.

Creativity is not a finite supply of ideas. It’s a natural state of being in which one medium sparks another, one practice ignites another, an actual flow that is unending if you keep moving with it and allowing it to move through you. Today, think of one little fun, creative thing to do. No agenda. No potential sale. Just fun. 

Fun ignites passion, and passion creates great work. Give yourself permission to just have a little fun and see what happens. 

Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

Toby Neal is the author of Blood Orchids:

Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei's intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.

Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she's being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei's quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.

Available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

About the Author:
Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first story at age 5 and has been published in magazines and won several writing contests. After initially majoring in Journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.” She enjoys many outdoor sports including bodyboarding, scuba diving, beach walking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Hawaii with her family and dogs. Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters–from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in the Lei Crime Series. Toby's Website