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Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

Work That Creative Flab

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I’m Jessica’s Creativity (you can tell from my purple text) and I’m here today to talk about exercise – the kind of exercise you can do while sitting down…and eating chocolate. Interested?

“OkWoman stretching before exerciseay,” you say. “I read the post about trusting Creativity, but I’ve got news for you. My Creativity is no MacGyver or Indiana Jones. I don’t think he/she can go the distance, whether I trust her/him or not.”

A valid point. Before you can trust someone, you need to believe in their trustworthiness. You cannot demand trust with no basis. You need proof, and your Creativity needs practice.

The answer? Exercise!

You cannot accomplish rain forest conquering feats if you have not first walked around the block a couple of times. Couch potatoes tend to do badly during death marches in the tropics, or death marches anywhere come to think of it.

The trick is to exercise yourself into condition, develop experience and accumulate gadgets. Let’s discuss these in a little more detail.

Get Yourself Into Condition

Okay, you’ve just been informed that in a month’s time you and the hero of your choice will be dashing off into the rain forest for an adventure. What do you do? After you ring your best friend babble for an hour and a half about how totally awesome this is going to be, what do you do?

Presumably you look at the less than ideal waistline and think about getting into shape. There are two ways to do this:

  • Rush down to the beach now and start doing laps!
  • Plan a consistent and reasonable exercise routine.

Yeah, I’m all for the do-laps, exhaust-self, swear-never-to-exercise-until-next-year kind decision initially, but time has shown me the benefits of routine. In fact, a consistent and reasonable routine gets you fitter quicker and keeps you there for longer. Why? It’s easier to maintain because you form a habit.

The same can be said for a creative routine. You want to form a habit – the habit of turning up, sitting down and allowing your Creativity to flow.

You can do it in killer clumps of inspiration. At times it’s the only way you can get the mass if ideas out of your head. (It tends to get crowded when too many ideas appear at once. That’s when you need to get them out of your Creativity’s way and down on paper!) However, if you want to be continually and consistently creative, you need to get yourself and your Creativity into a routine.

You’re possibly thinking that routine takes all the spark out of Creativity, and you kill random as soon as you put a schedule to it. To clarify, I am not saying you set yourself a time of day and only let your Creativity come out to play between 8 and 9 in the morning. Spontaneity is a huge part of the creative process. However, regular practice sessions with your Creativity will eventually lead to more spontaneity and creativeness. Counter intuitive perhaps, but don’t knock it till you try it.

Develop Experience

As you develop your daily walking routine, you’ll begin to accumulate experience. By the third day you’ll realise a water bottle is essential. By the fifth day you’ll realise that the first five minutes are always the hardest (or the second five minutes, or the seventh five minutes). By the seventh day you’ll realise walking at 7:45 every morning is a bad idea because Walter walks Caesar the Alsatian along the same path at the same time, and Caesar takes violent exception to your squeaky shoes.

Your creative routine will be the same. You’ll begin to realise when you need that cup of tea/coffee. Is it when you sit down, half an hour in or as a reward when you finish? If you’re writing, you’ll know that the first hundred words are the hardest, followed by the next hundred words which are also the hardest, and then there’s the hundred after that… You’ll begin to learn what to do when you hit the wall. Tough it out, concentrate on something different or reward yourself? You may even learn when you should stop; identify when your Creativity sponge is all squeezed out.

The more experience you have, the better you’ll understand yourself and your Creativity. This knowledge helps you trust your Creativity and know what she needs.

Accumulate Gadgets

Jessica finds exercise much more exciting when she has something to listen to, which is why she walks with an mp3 player (or a family member, although they don’t clip onto the belt quite so comfortably). Other people walk with pedometers so they know exactly how many steps they’ve taken. Still others find walking with a big stick or pole makes them feel more comfortable – presumably Moses was one of these people.

When you and your Creativity are working together, what sort of things do you need? Music? Inspiring knickknacks? A word counter? Find the gadgets that work for you.

Once you have your routine, experience and useful gadgets, you’ll find yourself trusting in Creativity and the creative process that much more. You’ll know where to go and what do to when you need that inspiration.

But when will you have opportunity to do all these things? Stay tuned for a future post about how you can start your own Creative Project.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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7 thoughts on “Work That Creative Flab

  1. Ms. Creativity: were you in love w/ MacGyver growing up? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry, got a little distracted there. I love the idea of practicing together w/ our creativity. It reminds me of that Aristotle quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    Repeatedly, steadfastly, commitedly (?) call forth creativity – and be you are creative.

  2. Love the analogy of creativity and exercise. I do often find that they go hand in hand. My favorite form of exercise is walking because I love getting outside. I usually don’t listen to music, just head out the door, because I find that my walks are really good for solving problems in my writing. If I let me mind go, it starts to come up with ideas and solutions for me. So I get two things done at once.

  3. @ami: Yeah! I’ve got a soft spot for MacGyver because of his amazing Creativity. He’s got the knack for seeing things not as they are (or as they’re expected to be) but as they could be. Now isn’t that the epitome of being creative? ๐Ÿ˜€

    What a brilliant quote! Thanks for sharing. I’m gonna store that one away somewhere.

    @Charlotte: You’re right. Creativity and exercise often go hand in hand, especially for active people.

    If you’re at home, your active side often needs to be doing something (writing, cleaning, cooking etc.) and if you’re not doing that, then it gets fidgety. It’s difficult to just let Creativity randomly create when your active side is looking for something physical to be doing. However, if you’re exercising, your active side is happily doing something, giving your Creativity permission (and plenty of mental space) to get to work.

    At least that’s how I figure it. Do you find the same?

    • My Creativity used to get really fired up while running laps at school. I used to borrow the teachers pen and write the precious pieces of inspiration on my arm. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Found an interesting quote by Tohby Riddle, an authour/illustrator, that supports your theory.

    He says, “When I got that very first idea, I was amazed that it actually seemed to look like a cartoon, would pass for a cartoon, that I wasn’t sure I’d ever think of another one. But you have to keep coming up with more ideas often to deadlines and that can get pretty scary. So I just got into the habit of looking for ideas and generating them through different ways of thinking. And in time, you become confident that there’s actually millions of ideas out there, and that the more you look for them, the more you find them.”

    So the point is exercise your Creativity, trust her and she’ll come up with the goods, or at least that is what the experts say.

  5. Pingback: The Advantages of Writing Fewer Words | Creativity's Workshop

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