So far this had been a crazy year for me with lots of writing (contracts) and lots of family activity. And then I cracked a rib sledding with one of my grandsons. In the midst of it all someone asked how I can keep up, be creative, and focus on writing with lots going on (plus pain). I’ll chat about that today.
Writers need to be professionals and that means to focus on the writing with the ups and downs of life. Yet we need to draw on creativity a lot and that can be hard when life gets busy or difficult. I think we develop the ability to turn on creative flows and the ability to block out problems and focus on the work of writing as needed. That’s part of why most of us don’t become a success overnight. I’ve been writing for 15 years now (incredible) and just received copies of my 11th book (with four others under contract-so 15 books in 15 years).
I have always switched from creative side of the brain to analytical side as someone with a math degree who always did needlework and other crafts. That really helps. I can recall as a little girl (under age 6) playing with paper and cutting it, folding it, and making up my own paper crafts. I would visualize something in my mind and make it. I still do that, but it also helped me learn to tap into my creativity.
I also recall how I needed creativity in years of helping with VBS crafts, school projects, and directing puppetry. I developed a habit of praying and expecting God to give me ideas. I would even set dates when I would need the creative juices to flow and pray until the set time, sit down, and start brainstorming and the ideas would just flow out. That became part of my life. I still continually pray for creativity and expect God to respond. I also set times when I sit and let the creative ideas flow out. In the brainstorming process it is best to just write out all the ideas and not stop to think through or analyze any. After releasing the ideas, then I analyze and capture the best ones. I choose which ones will work and keep a list of the rest.
Each person needs to know what triggers the creativity. One writer friend spends the first 5 minutes each day of writing journaling about anything that pops into her head. By the end of the time her mind starts to focus and she’s ready to write or be creative with a new plot.
I’m also good at outlining what I need to write as I create a proposal. I make my own copy detailed enough that I can pick it up months (or years) later and know what I intended to write. This makes the writing process easier for me. For example, a craft book outline would include the crafts, basic idea for each craft, the devotional ideas, and Bible verses.
For focusing, I tend to little things I must do (make the bed, eat, bills) and write a to-do list, block out time to do things, and the writing time. Knowing there’s a list and that I took care or urgent and necessary items, I am free to work. I block out everything else and concentrate on the task at hand, sit at my desk, and write. That’s discipline and again is developed by doing it. Start with scheduling writing time. Years ago I scheduled an hour a day. That increased to four hours a day and now I have a morning time slot and an afternoon time slot totaling 6-8 hours a day. I also exercise (lots of walking) during the day as part of my break times. I think getting out and moving helps clear the mind and inspires creativity.