Fresh from presenting a sell-out masterclass, I was looking forward to writing this article for my ezine and had it scheduled in my diary to do the following morning.
My most creative and productive writing time is usually in the mornings so I always aim to organize my other business commitments around this fact. The title of the article popped into my mind as soon as I picked up my pen.
I wrote it down and then decided to deal first with a specific task which also needed to be done that day. It was a financial task which I thought would only take about 30 minutes. Over an hour later (do you recognize that one?!), the task was completed but it had involved some serious working out and concentration.
So although it felt good to have it done, the process had shifted me out of feeling like writing! Fortunately I have been working consciously with the creative process for quite a few years now so instead of feeling frustrated, I knew that I could turn the situation around. This did not involve pushing myself to write when I didn’t really feel ‘in the flow’ but instead came from accepting fully the way events had unfolded and finding a way to re-ignite my creative feelings.
So I had an early lunch and went for a walk up the track near the house. I stopped at the brow of the hill where a broken branch provides a welcome resting place to breathe in the magnificent view across the landscape…
Without consciously thinking it through, by the time I began my return journey, the outline of this article had already ‘arrived’ in its entirety. Once I was back, the words found their way freely onto the page and I felt energized by the whole process.
So here is my 5 step process to help ignite your creativity when you need it and to keep it burning day after day:
1. Write a list of activities which lift your spirits and inspire your soul.
If you’re not sure what to include, think of what you enjoyed as a child and then interpret the principle to suit you as an adult. For example, I used to enjoy being outside and making ‘dens’ in the small patch of woodland by our house. Today, I enjoy being outside & walking through trees, especially when the sun dapples through the branches …
2. Identify what’s stopping you from incorporating more of these creative triggers in your current rhythm of life.
Many people will have time and/or money on this list of factors which hold them back from incorporating more creative activities in their lives. If they are on your list, take this opportunity to review what is truly important to you, and if necessary, reframe your thinking around the value of your creativity?
3. Write a list of solutions which ideally includes asking a friend or colleague if they would become an active partner – or even simply a ‘sounding board’ – in support of your creativity.
Try shifting your focus away from how hard it is to find the time and/or money onto how much you get from feeling creatively inspired. This should make enough of a difference for you to incorporate more choices each and every day which bring you closer to your creative intentions.
4. Choose an activity from your list to engage in at least once a week and ideally 3 times a week, or even better, every single day!
These don’t all have to be large, time consuming activities. In fact many of them should be easily manageable alongside other commitments. I recommend having a mix of different ideas to suit different occasions, moods, time frames and feelings. Sometimes a 20 minute walk at lunchtime will do the trick. Other times, a longer session making a colorful vision board is just what you need to inspire you subsequently with the words on the page.
5. Share your choice with your creativity partner and then let them know how you get on!
Announcing your intention out loud to someone else is an excellent way of helping yourself to stick to it. The sense of accountability and support for staying on track can work both ways so offer this opportunity to your creativity partner too. He or she does not need to be a writer for this purpose. Anyone who values creative expression no matter what the form can be a good creativity partner. Once a month, catch up by email, on the phone or in person and exchange summaries of what you’ve enjoyed most from your creative focus that month.
Enjoy the journey!
About the Author:
Julia McCutchen opens the way for writers to find their true voice, discover themselves in the process, and write consciously, creatively, successfully and with soul. A former managing director and publisher with over 20 years’ publishing experience, Julia’s holistic approach includes coaching, mentoring and masterclasses for aspiring authors. To access free articles, audios and other resources for writers, visit http://www.JuliaMcCutchen.com.