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[personal profile] lookingforoctober
...when it comes to creativity, or at least my creativity, it's not really an especially good power, but there's no denying that it's powerful.

I was thinking about a recent "no" that I received while roleplaying, and it suddenly came clear to me just how much of my writing process is structured around never ever ever saying no to myself. I write drafts, but I don't revise them, I write the next one by pulling things out of the first draft and expanding and forming them into a new draft. (This works because most of the things I call drafts are a bit more like outlines, or long lists of ideas. Or sometimes collections of words without the paste that makes them sentences and paragraphs. My drafts are weird.) But anyway, in each successive draft (or each successive pass, or whatever you want to call it), I say "yes" to some things, and leave some things alone (they fall out of the story, usually, unless I revive them in a future draft), but I don't (usually) say "no".

I know, this is a difference that makes no real difference, it's all the same in the end, but...I'm pretty convinced that it would be much harder if I had to say no. If I had to delete things out of the draft to form a new draft. (And yeah, I have to do that eventually, eventually it does get to the point where things occasionally have to be deleted, but I put it off as long as possible.)

Being told "no" from the outside (I'm back to thinking about roleplaying again) actually kills my creativity for a while, as I sit around and sulk about why it was wrong for someone to tell me no and what they should have done instead, instead of actually doing anything productive. (I'm now feeling sort of guilty about a few times when I've said "no" to other people... But sometimes it has to be said, to avoid worse problems later on. Just...no fun, from either side really.) It's not quite that bad when I tell myself no, but I at least feel way more productive when I don't tell myself no, and really, how you feel about writing is important.

(As for roleplaying, I think part of what I like about it is that the "no"s are actually usually pretty rare. I mean, usually you don't get the sort of "no" that totally negates something you did or wanted to do, you just get the sort of no that says "that happened but you didn't succeed" which can almost be viewed as a "yes" disguised as a no, because it still moves forward. Or the kind of no that says "no one wants to do this with you right now" which at least isn't explicitly "no", it's just silence. Silence isn't so bad.)


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