Last night I wrote a blog post about NaNoWriMo.
IMMEDIATELY after, I started getting ideas.
The Gates of Creativity
It was as if writing my options down opened up a new gate for me — only up to about the 4th chapter, but still.
In a better way than before, I thought of how I could tell our story, and yeah, that’s what I think I’ll do for NaNoWriMo. There are two weeks left and I’m a different person every day.
I wonder how many gates there are. I’m gonna say seven, because as you know — seven is the magic number. 3 is, too, but that’s irrelevant.
The Seven Gates of Creativity
I wish I had a clear view of what they were, but just for fun, let’s say…
- The Gate of Wanting
- The Gate of Dreaming
- The Gate of Inspiration
- The Gate of Incubation
- The Gate of Flooding
- The Gate of Seeing
- The Gate of Realizing
Last night I saw. That’s the gate I walked through, right after the inspiration gate. It took me into a realm that let me see how I can put together our story in an enjoyable way that could be legit and interesting.
I do think a lot about how to make things readable to other people. Not just because that might bring me money, but because why else do we write?
The money is important, too, but I couldn’t write just for that. It would drain my soul of all the joy that it has regained thanks to my acupressure mat.
Now that I’ve randomly named 7 gates, I should perhaps assign each of them a short definition.
The Gate of Wanting
Through this gate you enter a state of desire to express your soul. You want to tell the world something so badly, because you know that it has value, but you may not know yet what shape it has.
It’s an elementary room, not that complicated. Plain and simple, just you and your idea.
The Gate of Dreaming
Like the creator of Twilight, you may have the opportunity to turn a single dream into a bestselling book series, or you may just dream inspiring dreams regularly and use them in your books (I belong to this camp).
Whatever the case, this room that you have the opportunity to enter every night is a true blessing. It is essentially a tool that creates a story from your experiences. It converts your life into alternate sequences, just like writing does (whether you’re aware of it or not).
The Gate of Inspiration
What I encountered last night.
You’re stuck and it sucks, and then suddenly! Or you’re mining through endless grey rocks, until you find that amethyst.
I was watching a drama when it happened, taking a break from all the things that I was doing, and it was all I needed to get the inspiration right back.
Maybe the glowing stone appears to you when you take a step back. Maybe it was right there, you just had to look from a different angle.
There are many ways in which inspiration can hit, and a lot of them can be found by wearing different lenses or switching cave to mine in.
The Gate of Incubation
You have an idea, but you don’t know what to do with it.
Instead of consciously giving that attention, you let it simmer in the depths of your mind.
The room behind this gate is one that requires delicate balance to walk through. It’s like the first Harry Potter PC game where you had to jump from floating rock to the next floating rock, or you would fall into an endless pit.
What you’re balancing between is giving it too much thought, and too little. If you stress it, how can you nurture the idea lovingly?
Treat it like a baby. You’re basically story-pregnant.
Babies need love and nurture, and so does the story you are incubating.
The Gate of Flooding
One of the ideal states of a writer.
Without thinking, just writing things down, being in a flow. Not caring about where the story is headed or if everything is crap, because you have to write it down.
A lot of the time, it’s as if you’re gliding along the river on anything that floats. The material it’s made of is irrelevant, and you don’t have the time to notice.
Embrace the opportunity when you enter this super productive room, even if the end result is rubbish — either way, you have improved your skills and are one step closer to success (whatever that means to you).
The Gate of Seeing
The big picture shows up before you like a mountaintop view. Everything is there and clear. This could’ve been named the Gate of Clarity instead.
You see the whole scenery of the town that is your story. You see how the foundation is made, the pipes and the sewers and all of the electricity stuff. You see how the people interact with each other, and you see the art with which your town is decorated.
Not necessarily all at once, but it’s all there and you are ready to rule. The town is ready to take you in as its leader; the story prepared to be told in your words.
The Gate of Realizing
Every writer’s dream.
You have it all written down, just the way you want it (or at least satisfying enough). I imagine J.K. Rowling feeling this way, but who knows. It’s subjective.
Obviously I’ve never been there. Have you?
It’s probably a rare place to be, but we’re all striving there (I hope), whether it’s in writing or something else. There is always something that we want. Well, not always. There have been times in darkness when I have been saddened over the inability to desire realization of anything, but hopefully you’re not feeling that way.
Outside of the Gates
Most of the time is probably spent here; trying, being stuck, wondering what the meaning is, or just word mining.
Let me in!
Many people stand outside of the castle that is writing, waiting to be let in. Maybe they haven’t even gotten past the guards yet, but guess what — you have to either coax the guards or slaughter them, whatever it takes to enter, or re-enter.
Where am I?
The castle is big and has many rooms and corridors, but not all of them are the key areas. A lot of the space in the castle is excessive, but you have to walk through it to get to what you’re looking for.
You have to search, and it’s through that searching that the story is created. The other rooms are your gifts for hard work.
The time will never be right, because the time is always right by default.
All of the gates can be entered through sheer will, but you have to be a bit of Sherlock Holmes to crack the codes at times. The more advanced the level of the gate, the more difficult the code or means to enter.
You may have to slay a few dragons or fight some stubborn bulls, or maybe the best way for you is to be like the mice in my house and bite through the walls and create a system of secret tunnels that leads you everywhere you want to go.
Maybe the way for you is wandering. Just mindless walking around the castle, slowly taking it all in and feeling the atmosphere.
There are so many ways to find and enter the gates, because they don’t have a physical manifestation, not even in the castle. They can appear anywhere for anyone. Even right in front of you, right now.
The gates are everywhere. You just have to figure out how to see them, and however you do that, there is just one key rule: Don’t wait.
I’m not an omniscient narrator in the real world, so obviously I don’t know the real laws of the universe, but it does feel like the least likely way to get anywhere is to just sit and wait around for things to happen, no matter how cliché that sounds.
I’m actually supposed to be learning DDC for an exam and work on an assignment for another course, but instead I’ve been writing this all “morning” (it’s almost 3 PM, I’m a night owl).
No guilt or regrets about not studying, though, because I’m way more satisfied with having invented the 7 Gates than I would have been about studying.
One day, my procrastination will lead to success.
Pro tip: To write as procrastination instead of procrastinating from writing, have another obligation that is more crucial to complete, that has a deadline and consequences if you fail. You will likely procrastinate from that instead.
Fellow writers — what gates have you walked through? Also, if you are a female romance writer, I’m thinking of creating a discord group with a few of us. So far it’s only me, but if you want to join, please write me a comment.
And now, off to the next procrastination (eating brownie — so hungry!).