Terry Pratchett was prolific. He wrote 41 books just in his Disc World series that came straight out of his imagination where he created an entirely different universe that was a disc-shaped world riding on the back of four elephants standing on a turtle. I have read a few of them over the years. I am challenging myself to read all of his Disc World books in order in 2016. Over Spring Break, I read the last book he wrote before he passed away called The Shepard’s Crown. He knew he had some serious health problems and was contemplating mortality which comes across in this book in such a no-drama, matter- of-fact way. The rest of the book is about how the people left behind reacted to a beloved person passing and how they gained strength and resilience. I found the book very moving.
I admire Terry Pratchett for his imagination (which is off-the-charts by the way) shown in his books and also for his work habits. Here is a quote from fellow author and Terry’s friend Neil Gaiman in his introduction to the book Good Omens which they co-wrote,
"These are the things I realized back in 1985: Terry knew a lot. He had the kind of head that people get when they’re interested in things, and go and ask questions and listen and read. He knew genre, enough to know the territory, and he knew enough outside genre to be interesting. He was ferociously intelligent. He was having fun. Then again, Terry is that rarity, the kind of author who likes Writing, not Having Written, or Being a Writer, but the actual sitting there and making things up in front of a screen. At the time we met, he was still working as a press officer for the South Western Electricity board. He wrote four hundred words a night, every night: it was the only way for him to keep a real job and still write books. One night, a year later, he finished a novel, with a hundred words still to go, so he put a piece of paper into his typewriter, and wrote a hundred words of the next novel. (The day he retired to become a full-time writer, he phoned me up. “It’s only been half an hour since I retired, and already I hate those bastards,” he said cheerfully.) There was something else that was obvious in 1985: Terry was a science fiction writer. It was the way his mind worked: the urge to take it all apart, and put it back together in different ways, to see how it all fit together. It was the engine that drove Discworld—it’s not a “what if…” or an “if only…” or even an “if this goes on…”; it was the far more subtle and dangerous “If there was really a…, what would that mean? How would it work?”" from "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
Really, he started the next book the same night. That is impressive. It is what I strive for. The no-drama, kick Resistance in the a** kind of creative output.
How can we all be more consistent in our creativity? What holds you back specifically? What would need to change to open up time every day or every weekend for you to create what speaks to you? We are not talking about quitting your job. Just starting with 10 minutes a day. Not sure how to do it or even what to do? Sit for that 10 minutes and think about it.
If you already have a creative passion, this still applies to you. Consider if you are stuck in a rut and need a creative kickstart. I have been practicing keeping my mind open lately by listening to podcasts, reading, and watching documentaries to keep the ideas flowing. Sometimes a creative habit can become stale.
The challenge is to keep up the work habits of a employee punching the clock and balance it with the wildest imagination that keeps you wanting to punch in every day.
When I feel stuck, I am going to think about Terry Pratchett the man who kept showing up and wrote all those books.
And, yes, I highly recommend you read one of his books. Good Omens is a good one to start with. Next in line for my favorites is the Tiffany Aching series starting with A Hat Full of Sky. You will never forget the Wee Free Men.