Start a Creativity Journal

moss in hands

When you begin any creative project, whether it be writing, painting, or cooking an amazing meal, there is something to be said for honoring your own creative process.  Sure you can follow the path of others and there is much to be learned from those with experience in your field.

However the fact of the matter is that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.

I know, right?  That is some kind of crazy-makin’ notion going on right there…  Fact is that we are all different.  What works for Jane may not work for Janet and so on.

Get to know your motivation:

Before you even begin to create, take a moment to jot down what it is that is driving you to create in the first place.  Do you desire fame and riches?  Do you want your Mummy/Daddy/ bully to finally acknowledge you?  Do you feel motivated by some divine source to put something new into the universe?  Or are you just itching in your fingers to Do Something?

Whatever it is that is motivating you to create, one thing is guaranteed.  It will be overwhelming at times and ignoring that motivation can be a recipe for disaster in the form of mental unwellness.

Because creativity is the very act that will bring up our deepest fears.  Creating something is, after all, about innovation.  It is about birthing something into the world that has never been seen in that exact form before.  It is about making a statement of independence and offering yourself to the world in a physical form.  It is the ultimate act of manifesting.

Forget affirmations and hocus pocus (although I love me some hocus pocus.  If it helps then why not?)

Creating something is about taking a risk. 

It is an act of courage.

And as such you should record the insights that come with taking that leap of faith.

Start a creativity journal

This can be just a diary which you fill in after your creative time. Or you can make it a work of art in itself. (Beware that this can be a bit of a creative cul-de-sac but lovely nonetheless!)

Answering the following prompts can be fun:

How did it feel to put words on the page?  What did you think of those marks you made on the canvas?  What did that strange spice mix taste like?

What do you need to take this creative act further?

What emotions did this act bring up for you?

Why start a Creativity Journal?

I’m no expert but I know this:  when I examine myself for Truth, I always find it.  Being creative is a great way of getting to know yourself better.  It will familiarise you with the monsters that dwell within your psyche and throw some light on the shadows that you have been hiding from.  Recording this new sense of self awareness will make you stronger and better able to continue on the journey.  It is amazing how our subconscious offers us answers when we take the time to listen closely.

Here are some other ways to use a Creativity Journal:

  1. Record insights from other creative types.  Whether it is from their blogs, books or interviews, creative types love to talk about their ‘process’.
  2. Jot down ideas for future creative experiments.  Jotting it down means that you have caught the idea and don’t need to waster dream space on them just yet.
  3. Interrogate your demons.  Writing down your fears has a funny way of lessening their power.  It’s amazing the guidance that comes through with journaling.
  4. Put in lovely quotes and inspiring images.  Make it pretty.  Creativity is beautiful and often visual after all.
  5. Record your progress.  How many words today?  How much time painting?
  6. Evaluate your experience.  How can you improve it?  What tools could be handy?  How can it be improved?  What went great?

So, do you have a creative journal?  I loved reading about Kate Morton’s notebooks which you can read about here.  Such an inspiration!

Do you journal your own creative process?  What tips do you have for ways to use the humble journal to take your creativity to greater heights?  Share a comment.  I would love to know your thoughts.

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Write every day but set yourself a limit

Love this interview.  It makes so much sense and I love how he uses the metaphor of the dog to explain how to train our subconscious to get used to daily practice of writing.

Moral of the interview is to write daily and set a realistic limit.

Great quote:

“Know yourself and say to yourself I am most energetic at this time and that is when I write.”

Enjoy x

when you fall off the wagon, get right back on again

flowers-widescreen-wallpaper-bicycle-fragrant-wallpapers-image-wallwuzz-hd-wallpaper-18885Image from:  http://cdn.wallwuzz.com/uploads/flowers-widescreen-wallpaper-bicycle-fragrant-wallpapers-image-wallwuzz-hd-wallpaper-18885.jpg

When you fall off the writing wagon, or blogging wagon for that matter, it seems that popular wisdom tells me to get right back in the saddle again.  I confess that, true to my plan, I have desperately fallen off the writing/blogging wagon over the last couple of months.

I make no apology because the fact of the matter is that life got in the way.  I had an overseas visitor and a serious soul-searching date to grapple with and something had to give.  Blogging was the thing I had to let go of.  So I did.  Just like that.  Gone!

A few times, I sat down at my computer and told myself to just write a blog, write a paragraph, just write.  But I couldn’t.  There was nothing there.  The well was dry.

So rather than moan about it, or stress about it, or see it as some sign from the universe that this was all going to custard.  I rested.  I played.  I took little steps like planning chapters, or doing research, or creating character profiles.

Rather than resisting the urge to stop, I decided to go with it and see where it would lead me.

When you feel the need for a rest, listen to it.

So instead of pushing myself and telling myself to be a disciplined person, I listened to my body and gave myself some time off.

I am so glad that I did.  Not only did I decide to tackle a completely different novel from the story that I had originally envisaged writing first, I also discovered the joy of movement.

Instead of sitting in front of my computer screen, I took myself for a swim.

Instead of lying around thinking, I went out walking.

And it felt good.

Because the fact of the matter is that I want writing my novel to feel good.  I want it to be fun.  I don’t want to imbue with the urgency of unrealistic time allocation and reaching targets.  I was able to trust that, in time, those things would put themselves in place naturally (More on this in the next blog post!).

So instead of feeling bad about falling off the wagon, I took the time to recharge and regroup.  I even took the opportunity to alter my course a little.

I am so glad I did.

Today then I invite you to consider how you can use your down-time to make you a happier writer.  That’s right – a HAPPIER WRITER.

Because writing should be fun.  It should feel like soul food.  It should feel satisfying.

How do you keep yourself happy as a writer?  Leave a comment.  Let’s talk!