Putting the Pieces Back Together

How do I keep them steady?  image from depositphotos.com

How do I keep them steady?

image from depositphotos.com

The creative spark has been difficult to reach lately. The lack of even the tiniest ideas really had me down. How would I be able to reach my creative goals in such a state? Was I blocked?

Over the weekend I caught up on some tasks that I'd neglected because I had been so busy the past few months getting my first novel released. It took lots of time, energy and creativity – not to mention thinking power. I had to turn into a publisher and a business person and that left me with little umph for artistic writing or expression. I realized I had created some bad habits in my exuberance to get my book out into the world. It was a birthing process and having never done it – I had a lot to learn. For a first release, I experienced a certain amount of neurotic behavior which is probably necessary for a lot of artistic endeavors. We have to expose our art to the great unknown or literally pushed them out of the nest. I had stopped all new writing.

Zero.

Not one word that wasn't edits or business related.

I had no room for short personal journal entries.

I had also stopped any form of creative expression, art journaling, crafting, what have you.

I had stopped recording my accomplishments. Until they were written down, it mostly felt like my wheels were spinning in a soupy lake of mud - no traction available and every turn a mistake.

No wonder my ideas were hiding. They didn't want to get attacked if they made a peep at me.

Peep.

Bamb!

Eep eep eep ….

The pathetic cries of my ideas limping in complete and total rejection to the creative writing ER. They wanted to be nursed back to health with jello and cable TV.

Wow … wait …

What just happened? Back to what I was saying.

I wrote down accomplishments, even the minor ones, both personal, professional, day job, night job, whatever, and realized that by ignoring my steps forward I felt like the steps toward my goals were far too many.

My ideas will recover and so will I.

I just started writing and they came out from hiding. Sometimes, forcing myself to do something is all I need to get motivated.

I need to make good habits and keep setting goals. I'm a writer so I'll write them down and see all the progress I've made for the next go around – Book #2.

Breathe the Creativity In

I've been heads down for months. I finished a big project and that took a huge weight off my shoulders. So huge in fact that I was able to catch the mother of head colds and be miserable for the first warm weekend of the year. 

Nothing like getting fresh air and exercise when tired and having a stuffy nose. I realize I had probably been burning my candle at both ends and possibly in the middle, too.

The days of not doing much because of my illness were difficult, but also necessary. I had been pushing myself to the edge, and had not allowed myself a break in my determination to finish a creative project. I finished self-edits on my first full length manuscript that I'm going to self-publish in April. *Sigh of relief.*

I hadn’t taken a break. So, a break was forced on me in the form of an illness. A lesson learned because I’d rather have been healthy enough to celebrate properly after accomplishing my goal. My creative well was dried up.

Instead of being scared, I'll let it rest and refill the well. After a break, I can start on something new and fresh. I hope I can start on something new after. That's always a big fear. Did I use up all my creative mojo? Will I be able to produce something as fun and fantastic again?

The answer is yes. After several naps, some wine or chocolate (or both if you are into that), and some mindless play. It will come back.

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Inspire Yourself

We are all on a different road.

We are all on a different road.

Sometimes it pays off to do something you fear or attend an event that you think might not really apply to yourself. I did this on September 12 when I attended a writing event presented by Liliana Hart, New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author in Indianapolis, IN.

Creativity is a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, feed it good food, and treat it with respect and kindness, it will develop a beer belly, suffer from panic attacks while walking to the mailbox, and throw it’s back out from a nightly teeth brushing incident. I don’t want that to happen to my creativity and I don’t want it to happen to yours either.

At the speaker event, Liliana spoke about trends in the publishing industry and what worked for her and generally provided an overwhelming amount of advice to the authors in attendance. At first, I was pretty daunted by all the facts and how my path could never match what she and others have been doing.

You might not think a talk about business and industry trends would inspire creativity, but for me it did.

After reading through my notes and talking to some friends at the event, I stewed for a day. That’s when the creative energy hit me. I stopped for a moment as something Liliana said broke through the panic. Take advice with a grain of salt and stop what if-ing.

Think about that. No matter your creative outlet or career aspirations what is ultimately important?

The journey.

For me this was beyond motivational and inspired me to figure out what I really wanted, what I thought I was capable of doing without adding more stress to my already stressed out life. Ironically, this put some perspective on my already stressed out life and it didn’t seem so out of control any more, certainly not perfect but more manageable.

It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or what they plan on doing. What’s my plan? What’s yours? Write it down and stop worrying about what the market will do, what the neighbors will think, and just work on your goal.

The work won’t be easy. Easy isn’t the point. Feeling accomplished and excited about something despite being afraid is what will make things happen. Goals drive us forward and the amazing organ called the brain loves this stuff! It’s like, “Okay. Let’s go! Let’s do this shiznits!”

Find someone in your creative field and attend an even or just talk to someone else you know that might have been where you want to be. Ask for advice. Remember, each journey is different. No two are alike, like snowflakes. If something doesn’t work, make another plan and keeping going. There’s no end to the creative journey. That’s why I find it so fabulous.

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