An Article by Michael Agliolo
Every time I walk by the book section at a store, I imagine my books on the shelves with the words, “New York Times Best Seller” above the titles. Then, (when the vision slides away like a morning dream) I think about putting them on the shelf myself and standing further down the aisle to see if anyone picks them up. But I don’t have the time (I’m in the middle of writing another book).
As I walk on over to the next aisle my mind wonders, “what if someone picks up my book and just walks out of the store.” I’m torn. On one hand, they wanted my book bad enough to risk getting caught stealing it, and on the other, they’re a thief.
I hate thieves!
So goes the imagination of an author. I’m practically done with my third novel, which is usually the scariest thing about writing. What happens if that was my last idea for a book? That’s the “what if” game I play. But, you can play all day and all you do is end up in the same place you began.
Just like in any profession, writers have a set of unique psychological issues. I could list them, but neither of us has that much time. Let’s just settle on one: Creativity.
My previous profession was that of a commercial photographer. Not weddings or portraits, I was a photographer hired by corporations to shoot for their advertising agencies. Every shot needed to be unique and that’s why they hired me at $1500 a day (plus expenses). Creativity became a daily exercise. I’ve carried that practice into my daily life to keep it alive.
“Use it or lose it,” applies to creativity as well as everything physical.
Here’s an example of my daily creative practice: I had played a basketball game the day before and the next morning my body is in pain! The last thing I want to do is bend over and pick something off the floor. So of course, as I’m putting my pants on, I drop a quarter from my pocket. Now I don’t give a hoot about the quarter, but the little creativity center in my brain yells, “Hey Mikey, let’s see you pick up that quarter off the floor without bending over even an inch.”
Games on, and I tell myself, “you’re not leaving this closet till that quarter is back in your pocket.” Now I’ve boxed myself into a corner with my ‘no choice scenario.’
I see one of my old tennis shoes on the floor (a few feet from where I’m standing). I take a metal hanger from the closest shirt I can reach. I unbend the wire and make it long like a stick, but I leave the hook part curled. I use the hanger to reach one of my tennis shoes and drag it next to the quarter. (With my foot) I tip the shoe sidewise so the open end is next to the quarter. (With my big toe) I flick the quarter inside the hole. I then use the hanger to hook around the shoestrings and pull the shoe up to me. I grab the quarter out of the shoe and put it back into my pocket. Lastly, I bend the hanger back to its original shape and call it done.
I do this daily, one way or another. I also do this on every page of my books. I call it, “keeping the pilot light on.” I hope you get a chance to discover that pilot light in my two self-published books, Last Light and The 51st Directive.
Written by Michael Agliolo