This is a pep talk to myself and hopefully for anyone else out there who feels frustrated by lack of creative mojo. I hope these top 10 creativity killers can be vanquished in your life as well as mine.
The weather is a strange creature. It can definitely affect my mood. Rainy days can zap my energy and make my motivation flutter away by watching reruns on TV or an entire season of Fringe on Netflix. Sunny days are equally depressing because when the weather is good I want to be out there with the other people having fun and not chained to a desk. As a writer if I’m focused on the weather a good way to get rid of this creativity killer is to put the weather into my work in progress. If it’s rainy or sunny outside I incorporate the exact scenery I’m experiencing into my writing. It might work. It might not. It gets me typing.
Unless someone is dying or needs emergency medical attention they can wait for 30 minutes. I time myself. I take my laptop or notebook somewhere else. Take an art project outside or to another room. If I can’t leave I try taking a few deep breaths to find the zone. Once I get into a scene I can block out other visuals around me but at times it’s still challenging. For noise distractions, sound canceling headphones or earplugs work wonders for me. I’ve used this a lot. If possible have a space of your own where you can close the door.
The to-list. (I’ve bashed this scourge upon mankind in a previous post.) I used to think of time as my enemy. There is never enough of it in a day and the to-do list takes up more than it’s fair share. What did I do? The timer is set. I like to use 30 minutes to an hour depending on what’s going on in my day. For the next 30 to 60 minutes (timed) I will do a chore. Two things might happen. I get some exercise because as all writers know time spend in the chair is also time spend sedentary. Or...the timer will go off and I’m so into a scene or dialogue exchange the timer is turned off but I keep writing. Then the chores are done after. Sometimes long after.
#7 Sitting Too Long
After a while I don’t want to think anymore. This is the case if I’ve found myself surfing the Internet while I’m in a timed writing session. I move. I go outside if the weather cooperates and take a walk. Other options are to window shop, get the mail, water my flowers, or go to the mall or a store to walk around. Sitting too long isn’t doing my writing any good. Interacting with the world is what can bring life to writing or any creative project. A many good ideas can come from a repetitive physical action. It takes our minds off our problems and allows the subconscious to chew it up and spit out a solution.
The world is a hectic place. There are so many demands placed on us in our always connected world it feels like we have to keep up a grueling pace. If we slow down it feels like the world could possibly end. Zipping along at 70 miles an hour on the Interstate allows us to remain focused on a very narrow view. There’s a lot missed. How many of us drive the same drive everyday to work and only when we become a passenger do we realize there’s been a wonderful little restaurant on the corner that we never noticed? Sitting quietly for 15 to 20 minutes a day can bring a sense of peace. Then we notice all that we’ve been missing.
#5 Afraid of Mistakes
A constant battle for me. But I tell myself mistakes are how I learn. It’s how everyone learns. Embrace the mistakes and know they are fixable.
#4 My Writing Sucks
This is called pushing myself over the cliff. I don’t jump but get so worked up my evil self laughs and gives me a good push. This comes with the territory of being in a creative field. I take a breath. Sometimes I have to let a problem go and have confidence that it will be fixed in the edit process. If I am editing it’s okay to cut. In fact, it’s really a must to cut. And I believe this is true of all creative endeavors. You can always start over.
They will never go away. Some people find it necessary to bash anything and everything. We don’t know what they are going through in their lives and realize (as I have) what they say isn’t a reflection of you or me. It’s what you say about yourself that’s most important. Don’t bash yourself. Be kind to yourself. Also, find your support where ever you can and find it frequently. When people say negative words it’s about issues they are dealing with. Maybe they always wanted to be a writer but never tried. Maybe they want to live a healthy life but refuse to change their junk food ways. You can even help them but rephrasing so they can see a different perspective. (I’ve done this and sometimes it works.) If they don’t, I find justice by making them an evil character in my manuscripts. :) It’s great therapy!
#2 Too Many Obligations
Life happens. There are going to be days when my writing is going to have to sit. I make the number of those days low. I don’t always have to say yes to every request. These can include requests that are creative and fun. If the yes requests keep sapping me of energy I need a trapped feeling overcomes me. It’s as easy to say no as it is to say yes. I have the control to schedule my life and you have control of yours. I get up early or stay up late or even say, “No. I’m not writing today.” Take a day “off” and let my mind relax.
#1 Neglecting My Identity
There’s no better way for my ideas, motivation, and feelings of creativity to take a nose dive then to call myself everything except writer. My mistake is thinking I can only be one thing. I can only be a wife, a mother, a friend, an employee, an artist, a writer. The truth is we are all the things we want to be all the time. There aren’t tiny little boxes we need to fit into. Whatever your passion is remind yourself on a daily basis that is who you are.
I hope these killers don’t show up in your life but if they do let me know how you get rid of them or if there are some I’ve missed.