“The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.” —Marcel Proust
You’ve worked hard on your creative work. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get more mileage from each project?
I assure you, valuable hidden by-products wait to be discovered in the projects you’ve finished.
Discovering a by-product from one creative endeavor to use in another is a creative exercise in itself.
Here are 2 examples that show how I’ve squeezed by-products from my creative endeavors.
My first grandson spent almost every Sunday afternoon and some weekends with my husband and I. We came up with adventures for our times together. Walks in the woods, pretending we were the characters in the stories we read to him. Airshows, treasure hunts, building cities with blocks and plastic roads. Finding the perfect walking sticks to keep the lions away. Even a trip to Florida.
Then, during the years I was learning to write fiction, my grandson turned seven. I wrote a novel about a young American woman who travels to a mountain mission in Costa Rica. She ends up on an adventure with a seven-year-old American girl, whom she protects from thugs hunting for the child.
From our adventures with my seven-year-old grandson, I knew just how a seven-year-old talked and thought. I knew how silly or sad or wise a seven-year-old could be. For my by-product novel, I milked his mannerisms, things he said, how he moved, his facial expressions, his emotions and fears, and his jokes for my story. All from the creative play and adventures with my grandson.
I didn’t sell the novel, but the one thing the editor commented on in her rejection was her interest in the relationship and interactions between the woman and the child.
Some years ago, I self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. After giving dramatic readings of some of the stories in several venues, an idea hit me for a by-product of my stories.
The theme of two of the stories was prayer. Using those two stories, I developed a workshop on prayer. Interspersed between dramatic readings of the stories, we broke into discussion groups, and ended the workshop with a fun craft. I was invited to give the workshop several times. This by-product from my short stories was the springboard to other types of speaking engagements.
To squeeze by-products from creative works, get into the habit of looking for elements within them that can be used in a new project.
- Discover and squeeze valuable by-products from your creative works.
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What by-product have you squeezed from one of your creative works?