Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Managing the Creative Struggle




The comment I hear most from readers of this blog is “How do you get so much done?”, or some derivation of that.

The short answer: I don’t sleep much. It’s 5 a.m., and I’ve been up for a while plotting the creative part of my day: blog post, manuscript revisions, free write, etc. But the truth is my quality of life would suffer without creative outlets. So beyond work and family life, this is where I put my energies.

My son draws the most fantastic crayon drawings of superheroes without giving it a second thought. He doesn’t “plan” anything. For me, however, I have to make time to be creative. The struggle comes in when I push away the must-do items for writing and revising.

So for anyone struggling to make space for creativity, I offer these simple tips:

  1. Define your goals. At the end of your creative period, what should be the outcome? A first draft? A plot outline? Hard to know where you’re going if you don’t define what you want.


  2. Don't let yourself off the hook. The dishes in the sink and unpaid bills will still be there after you write. Don’t get derailed. Honor this time and use it wisely.


  3. Change your playlist. How many of us have that old favorite, “I’m no good at this” playing in our heads? Time to hit “shuffle” and move on to more positive messages about our projects, don't you think?


  4. Surround yourself with like-minded people. This is where community comes in. Check in with other writers and artists about their projects. You’ll find you’re not so alone in the struggle, and they’ll offer the encouragement you need to keep going.


  5. Allow for spontaneity. Here's the real challenge. Be open to being creative when you least expect it.



Making time for creativity is not an indulgence, it’s a necessity.

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