The Creative Soul

This is my first blog post for LSQ, and I’m honored to share my thoughts on women and creativity with the talented women who read and write for LSQ. I will be writing about the creative life and the particular challenges and inspirations for women who live it.

As I thought about what is needed for creative work, several things came to mind. First, desire. We must have an impulse, a longing, maybe even a calling to communicate something to the world. We may not know exactly what it is, even after years of writing, but if the calling is there, we hear it and continue to unravel the message that is ours to share.

Second, we need commitment. With the busy lives most of us lead, this may be the most important. Our creative work must rise to the top of the priority list if it is to be more than a dream. Creativity requires hard choices. We can’t do it all, and may have to accept that our lives will be different when we choose to live as creative women.

We need time. You may need to hack it out with a metaphorical machete, and then guard it like a precious jewel. For creative work to flourish, you must practice.

We also need a place to work. Maybe not a whole room, although that’s ideal, but a corner that is ours, with the tools we need and the books we love, a place where we are, above all, WRITER.

 We need determination. The call to write may be inborn, but the craft must be learned, and that requires us to make the decision over and over. To write when you really don’t feel like it. When you’d rather be doing something else. When you’re tired and discouraged.

The good news is that to produce a story, a poem, a play, or a novel is the greatest feeling in the world, and worth the sacrifice. To finish, to send out your work, to see it published, that’s the payoff. And what a payoff it is! Your name in print!

Writing speculative fiction is the joy of my life, and I’ve struggled with all the issues I’ve mentioned. The next piece of good news is that we’re living in a great time for women writers. There are a lot more of us now, and more opportunity than in the old days when some women used initials when submitting work to conceal their identity.

Still, women work in a different world than our male cohorts. I believe that women are more intrinsically creative, but also have more constraints on our time and energy. Many still have confidence issues that slow them down or stop them entirely.

I’d like to know your challenges as a writer. Time? Priorities? Balancing family, relationships, and creativity? Finding markets open to the type of work you are producing? Send me a message with any subject you’re interested in hearing more about so this column can address your interests. If you care about a subject, more than likely others do too.

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 When I recently heard that all the Nebula award winners were women, I thought, Wow! What a great time to be a writer. A woman writer. A woman writer writing specfic.

The Nebulas are the annual awards given by SFWA, the professional organization for fantasy and science fiction writers. You must be a member to vote, and to be a member you must have published in approved markets. If you’re interested, membership information is listed here.

The list of Nebula winners is here

Some great writers were honored this year, including Ann Leckie (her novel Ancillary Justice beat out Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Vylar Kaftan, Aliette deBodard, and Rachel Swirsky.

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Another interesting project featuring women in speculative fiction is the kickstarter anthologies spearheaded by writer and editor Christie Yant at Lightspeed Magazine. She got sick and tired of hearing that women can’t write “real” science fiction and this anthology is the result─short stories, flash fiction and reprints. Women Destroy Science Fiction is now available in all formats. I just got my electronic copy and am really excited to read so much science fiction by woman, all in one place!  I was particularly moved by the story A Word Shaped Like Bones by Kris Millering, about a woman artist on a spaceship to a distant planet, creating art for an alien civilization.

It’s available at Amazon and all the usual places. Upcoming anthologies to look forward to include Women Destroy Fantasy and Women Destroy Horror. Lightspeed is a pro market that has always been open to women writers, but anthologies of ALL WOMEN is pretty groundbreaking.  Thanks, Christie!

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Carol Holland March writes speculative fiction and blogs at CarolHollandMarch.com

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