Today I am delighted to have as my guest, best-selling novelist Toby Neal. In this guest-post she shares some thoughts and insights on the creative process and we introduce her latest book. Please make her welcome…
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.
About Toby Neal
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 Latest Book
Toby’s latest release is a response to the many requests she has fielded concerning how she managed to get her book, Blood Orchids, into Amazon’s top seller list so quickly.
Effective steps to building an author platform that can take advantage of free programs and launch any book into visibility and better sales.
Self published or not, today’s authors have to develop their own “platform” for reaching book buyers. This power-packed 20 page booklet contains tips based on author Toby Neal’s sales and psychology background and experience with her bestselling crime novel, Blood Orchids. These secrets maximize social media to build an author platform that can bring fast, wide-ranging visibility and increased sales to any book.