Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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How to Prep Your Creativity for NaNo WriMo

A woman standing at the edge of a pool about to dive in.

Hi, I’m Jessica’s Creativity (you can tell from the purple text). I’ve been a little busy lately working on Jessica’s new novel for November so that’s why I haven’t posted for a little while. Anyway, I’m back now but a little out of practice. 😉

I love watching someone launch themselves off the side of a pool, dive gracefully into the water with barely a splash, and then ride the momentum under the water for a couple of seconds before they surface to start swimming. 

Do you know what makes a good dive?

A large part of it is the stance you take up before you dive into the pool. 

Think about it. If you only get yourself ready for the dive during the split second before you hit the water, you’ve got about a 78% chance of belly flopping, which not only hurts but has got to be in the top 5 least graceful ways to enter the water – listed just above sidling in inch by inch with your face screwed up and squeaking about the temperature.

Now, what about when someone pushes you in? Then the whole thing becomes traumatic. Shock. Panic. Water up the nose, down the throat, in the lungs. 

Where am I going with this?

Well, starting NaNo WriMo is like you and your Creativity diving into a project. Ideally you want to get yourself into a good stance before you dive, then launch yourself into the novel using the momentum to give you a head start on your word count. 

However, some of you will only start preparing for NaNo WriMo a day or two beforehand, possibly leading to a rude awaking upon hitting the blank page.

Then there are those of you who will just shove your Creativity into the water on November 1st and expect a miracle. Now perhaps you and your Creativity have an understanding about these things. Perhaps he/she enjoys a good practical joke and may reciprocate in kind with a wild ride to the other end of the pool.

But can I plead with the rest of you? Don’t traumatise your Creativity from day 1. Take a little time beforehand to prepare your Creativity for what lies ahead by trying these suggestions.

Prime the Pump

You can’t start writing on your novel draft until November 1st, but you can still write plenty of other things, for example:

  • Character profiles or a plot synopsis for your NaNo WriMo project. 
  • Short stories based on writing prompts.
  • Journal entries.

The important thing is to start getting into the habit of writing daily. Coax your Creativity into the routine of meeting you at a regular time every day to help put words on the paper. 

Writing is often likened to a water pump, which has to spew out dirty water first before the clean comes through. And I’m sure you’ve all experienced days when the words and ideas spewing forth weren’t up to scratch. But you have to pump them out for the good stuff to come. 

Now is the below par output your Creativity’s fault? No! Just the same as it’s not the pump’s fault that the water starts out dirty. It’s simply a fact of life – things stagnate when they’re not flowing (like melted chocolate and country streams). 

So start pumping now. Move the rusty words through your fingers and out onto the page. Your Creativity needs you to get the inner workings going, so he/she can start creating fresh ideas and words for you in November.

Expose Your Creativity to Interesting Stuff

Remember, your Creativity is like a sponge. You have to soak the sponge in idea juice before you can give it a good squeeze – otherwise nothing will come out!

How can you do this with your Creativity?

Try:

  • Reading good books.
  • Visiting interesting places.
  • Initiating interesting conversations.

Actively search for fascinating facts and intriguing ideas. Deliberately place your Creativity in inspiration’s path. Your Creativity is stuck in your head, so he/she can only see what you expose them to!

Give Your Creativity Time to Mull

The best ideas come after your Creativity has had time to ruminate, or shall we say ‘stew a little flavour’ into the concept you’ve provided. They need to potter off into their own little space, make themselves a pot of maple syrup and ponder on things, stirring them around in the noggin for days (or more!) until the pieces kaleidoscope into something unique and usable.

So give your Creativity something to work on. Maybe it’s just the beginnings of a plot or a theme you want to explore. Perhaps it’s a character you want your Creativity to get to know better to discover their secrets. 

Whatever it is, no matter how small, give it to your Creativity now and allow them free reign to mull it over so there’s something there ready for you when you begin writing…

…because you want dive into November as smoothly as possible. Okay, it probably won’t be a splashless wonder, but a little preparation goes a long way.


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How Music Can Boost Creativity

Little girl listening to music through headphones.

Silence is golden.

But the right music is platinum.

While I’m the first to admit to the necessity of silence at certain times in the creative process (sometimes having to insist on it when Jessica’s not paying attention), I’m also heavily addicted to music. The right music at the right time provides the catalyst for new ideas and the bridge to overcome creative blocks.

The trick is to find the right music for the right time.

Instrumental

For times when absolute silence only helps you hear the whistle of the wind blowing across the arctic tundra of your mind, soft instrumental music can provide just enough noise to help you along – the same way that the first few words on a blank page suddenly make the page far less imposing.

Baroque music (a style from around 1600 to 1750) is supposed to be very good for concentration. More modern equivalents could include Enya and Ottmar Liebert.

Movie Scores

When searching for the pacing or emotion in a scene, movie scores can provide a template or musical shorthand to build on. After all, their purpose is to tell a story.

Some of our favourites include Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, How To Train Your Dragon, the latest Star Trek movie and National Treasure.

Jazz

Recently Jessica and I discovered that jazz also has an influence on our creative endeavours. A lot of jazz is improvised, and this encourages independent thinking. Each musician makes the song their own, creating a unique interpretation of it, while still keeping the tune identifiable.

When you write, you’re using the same words as everyone else uses – just as musicians are using the same notes as everyone else. What matters is the way you use them.

What tune are you playing with your words? Are you sticking to the notes exactly as written on the page, or are you improvising, exploring and enjoying the act of playing?

When it comes to jazz, like listening to Manhattan Transfer, Katherine Whalen, Billie Holiday, Natalie Cole and, of course, Ella Fitzgerald.

Now, over to you. What kind of music do you like listening to? How/why does it influence your Creativity?


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Why ‘Childish’ is the Greatest Complement You Can Pay Your Creativity

Baby with sunglasses

Sometimes Jessica and I have disagreements/discussions on my behaviour.

I don’t like vegetables. She calls me childish.

My concentration flits from subject to subject. She calls me childish.

My hair is rainbow-coloured.  She calls me childish.

And each time I take it as a complement.

Why?

Because children are creative. Here, I’ll give you some examples.

Children Ask Questions

‘Why?’ Sure, it may be one of the most annoying words in the English language (especially if you’re a parent), but with that one word children learn to unravel the intricacies of their world.

Children are learning machines, and it’s because they ask questions. Even before they are able to formulate words, they are asking questions in their mind. ‘What happens if I do this?’ ‘How can I get your attention?’ ‘Can I fit banana up my nose?’

Those questions lead to experiments, sometimes with conclusive answers (‘Yes, squished banana does fit up my nose’), sometimes with new questions (‘What about apples?’).

Being creative is about asking questions, especially the questions other people haven’t thought of or are afraid to ask. There are plenty of people working on the obvious questions. To find unique answers, often you need to ask the uncomfortable or obscure questions.

Children Test Out Their Theories

Once a child has a question, they find way to answer it.

‘What does dirt taste like?’ Simple, taste it.

‘What does a caterpillar feel like?’ Touch it and see.

‘What does a saucepan sound like?’ That’s a no brainer.

And yet if an adult were to ask those questions, they may hypothesize an answer in their heads, but would they ever reach a definite conclusion?

Questions are extremely useful, but only if you act to find the answers. There is such a thing as too much theorizing. Eventually you have to stick your hand in and try. Why not start with an experiment, instead of musing.

Children Make Mess

‘This I know,’ you may say. ‘I clean my kid’s mess up every evening.’

There has to be a level of ‘mess’ in creative endeavours. If everything is too clean, too tidy, too perfect, then there’s no opportunity for the unexpected.

Creativeness happens when two unexpected things connect. If you have everything compartmentalized, when will the unexpected connect? Only during mental earthquakes, and at that point you’re too distracted by other things.

To be truly creative, you need to be prepared to get messy – embrace it, cause it, revel in it – because this is what it means to be creative.

Children Are Fascinated By Simple Things

‘Small things amuse small minds.’ How often is this term used in a derogatory manner?

It’s a beautiful thing to watch a child fascinated by something as simple as a bottle top or a gumnut. They turn the object over in their hands. They test it in many different situations. They learn all the ins and outs of that one little thing.

And when they’re done, their brain has a detailed understanding of that object. An understanding which will last a lifetime. But how many more little objects are our there to learn about?

Small things, or ‘simple things’ can reveal the answers to universal questions and provide life changing ideas.

Don’t shun the simple just because it’s not ‘adult’ enough for your attention. The answer to your question might be right under your nose.

Children Are Humble

Children make mistakes. They fall. They burn themselves. They embarrass themselves. It’s all part of the process. With a little help they pick themselves up, and continue – usually no worse for wear and definitely a little wiser.

Children realise they have much to learn. So they ask questions. They test things out. They make mess. They are constantly curious about their world.

Is being childish such a bad thing? It definitely has advantages from a creative standpoint, if not from other standpoints too.

So why not drop your guard for a little while, hang out with your Creativity and be childish together? Recapture the wonder and see what you discover.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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Cooking for the Mind

How do you like your food? And what does that have to do with Creativity?

Recently Jessica read a great post by Elizabeth King entitled You Cannot Sing If You Cannot Cook.

Needless to say, this tickled my fancy – and I’m willing to bet it will tickle your Creativity’s fancy as well.

Just about everyone values organization, and a big part of organization is compartmentalizing. In other words, setting aside time to walk the dog, clean the house, take the kids to school, work, pluck your eyebrows etc. This kind of scheduling and focus is important. And it has its uses in a creative setting too. Scheduling time to just create is essential.

But sometimes compartmentalizing is taken too far, especially when it comes to learning and expressing ourselves creatively.

As mentioned in Elizabeth King’s post, education tends to put subjects into their own little boxes and very rarely allow the subjects to interact – as if they’re afraid that intersecting subjects will turn on each other like Siamese fighting fish.

But I ask you, which kind of meal do you prefer? One where each ingredient (from the garlic, salt and sauces through to the individual vegetables and meat) is presented on its own? Or one where the ingredients are mixed tastefully together to create a well seasoned dish?

You picked the latter, right?

The same often works in your mind. Allowing information, subjects, experiences and skills to infuse each other results in a sensation of flavours, some of which may never have been experienced before. (And unusual flavour combinations really do work. I’m a big fan of chocolate beetroot muffins for this precise reason.)

So, when learning about a subject, do you make an effort to discover obscure connections to other things you already know? Do you allow these new points to flow into other areas of your learning and life?

A trip to a museum can reveal a significant moment in your story’s history. A better understanding of music theory can unlock a character’s hidden quirks. An introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony may give you the final act to your novel.

When you get an idea, do you always express it in the same way? Perhaps painting your poetry or turning your plot into music will allow your idea to ferment into something even more powerful.

Compartmentalizing your Creativity only limits what he/she is able to achieve. The best results come when you steep your Creativity in a rich and varied mixture of sensations, allowing random moments and connections to flow through his/her space. Then the possibilities become spectacular.

What about you? Have you experienced this in your life?


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What Are You Exchanging Your Life For?

How do you decide the price of something? How much money it costs? How long it takes to do? What you have to give up in the process? How many bars of chocolate it equates to?

Here’s an interesting quote by Henry Thoreau, an American poet who lived in the 1800’s:

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

So what are you exchanging your life for? What are you exchanging your Creativity’s life for?

SpringYou see, each Creativity is like a spring, with their latent potential all bound up inside your head. What will they accomplish? It all depends on what is in that unique spring and how much opportunity you give your Creativity to unleash.

Think back over the great works of men and women who have let their Creativities run wild. Famous writers, artists, musicians, designers, inventors, speakers etc. Imagine their Creativities working away inside their heads, releasing their energies and ideas for the world to use, admire and remember.

Now take one of those names, your favourite, and imagine what would have happened if that person had not let their Creativity release. What would the world have missed? What would never have come after?

Take that one step further. Think of the unique gift you have. What will the world miss if you don’t let your Creativity go? What potential is bound up in your head?

What are you exchanging your Creativity’s life for?


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Why You Can Be More Creative With Less

In a previous post we discussed how constraints can help your Creativity reach new heights. Since then we’ve come across a couple of real life examples to illustrate this principle.

Take to specifics like a hammer to a nailNail Down the Specifics

The first is this quote from composer Stephen Sondheim:

“If you ask me to write a song about the ocean, I’m stumped. But if you tell me to write a ballad about a woman in a red dress falling off her stool at three in the morning, I’m inspired.”

This is a brilliant example of how nailing down specifics can explode the situation’s potential. This is why (as an example) the more you know about your characters, the easier they are to write.

If they are wishy-washy, with vague background and nebulous motivations, then there are just too many possibilities. Your Creativity find his/herself stumped, like a rat in a lab experiment, surrounded by doors. Of course we know the cheese/story is behind one of these doors, but instead of starting somewhere and working our way through the options, we sit staring at the possibilities. Sensory overload!

So start choosing specifics, often the wackier the better. Give your character an embarrassing middle name – Goliath, Liverwurst, Gimblebot – and then describe the parent who gave it to him. Discover the food your character absolutely detests – plums, cream cheese, schnitzel – and then explain why. The more details you add, the more possibilities you’ll see.

As you learn and create the specifics of your character, that character will come to life inside your head. You’ll hear their voice, and they’ll take you on a journey.

That surge of inspiration and the glorious surprises which result all come from nailing down specifics. And trust me, details make the story.

Choose the Hard Road Out of Necessity

Our next quote is by Sally Porter, a very talented woman who wears so many hats in the writing and production of her movies that it’s almost impossible to list them all. The following comes from an interview about the movie Yes, which she wrote and directed. (I hasten to add that Jessica’s never seen the movie itself so this is not a review or recommendation, merely a quote.)

Guernica: What made you choose to do the dialogue in iambic pentameter, and—even more astonishing—in rhyme?

Sally Potter: It came out of necessity. The constraint of verse liberated a way of expressing ideas and feelings which are difficult in the different constraint of so-called normal or everyday speech.

There’s something deliciously crazy about writing an entire movie script in iambic pentameter out of necessity.

What constraints are necessary for your project? Remember, it’s the details, the specifics, of your project which make it unique. Of course Creativities love working on ideas, but when we know we’re working on something truly different, something which will capture your unique view of the subject, then we get really excited!

So don’t avoid the hard constraints. Choose them, run with them, and create something extra special.

What constrants have you imposed on your Creativity?

For further reading on this topic, check out the article 3 Reasons Why Having Too Many Materials and Options Stunts Your Creativity at A Big Creative Yes.

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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Are Your Eyes Eating Right?

Dog licks chops and looks longingly at dinnerHave you ever wondered what your Creativity eats? I’ll let you in on the secret.

He/she feeds off your experiences; off the things you interact with or notice as you go about your daily life. And the main source of that food is visual. Yes, your eyes feed your Creativity.

So what interesting morsels are you supplying your Creativity? Are you feeding him/her at all?

Some people are so busy they never let their eyes rest on anything worth ingesting, at least from their Creativity’s point of view. But with a little understanding of your Creativity’s eating habits, you can keep him/her happy and healthy.

Start Eating Right

The first step is to realise your Creativity is relying on you to satisfy his/her needs. So what are you providing?

Are you paying attention to your surroundings? Do you actually take in the sights and people you encounter, or are you so wrapped up in getting from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible that you don’t notice anything else?

You don’t have to go out of your way to find ‘food’ of interest. Look at the passengers you share a bus with. Watch people who walk by. Notice the plants. Read posters. Stare at clouds. Eavesdrop on a nearby conversation. Examine your environment to see what whets your Creativity’s appetite.

How will you know when you’ve hit on something your Creativity wants a bite of? You’ll begin to feel intrigued, curious, excited. You may even have a light bulb moment when the spark of an idea forms. Then you know you’re on the right track.

Provide a Varied Diet

If you just eat the same meal over and over again, life starts to get dull and tasteless, even if the meal used to be your favourite. It’s the same with your Creativity. Once he/she has squeezed all the excitement out of the places you frequent, you need ensure you’re keeping the meals interesting.

Try taking a different route to work, talking to someone you’ve never spoken to before, reading a different book, walking into a strange shop, learning a new subject, travelling to a faraway place, tasting an unexpected dish.

Vary the place, time and mood. Even slight differences can change the whole texture of an experience.

Savour the Flavour

When someone presents you with a beautiful meal, you chew slowly and savour the tastes. When your Creativity is ‘eating,’ the speed with which he/she ‘chews’ is directly proportional to how much attention you invest. If your eyes flit from one thing to the next, your Creativity misses the depth of the experience and ends up with creative gas – and you do not want me to start describing that to you.

So, give your Creativity time to take in the details. Let your eyes, and attention, dwell on each individual experience. Don’t rush. Chewing your food takes time.

Thankfully, China is a country where staring is considered the norm so Jessica uses this cultural quirk to the full. But if you’re in a culture which views staring as impolite, what can you do? Start by practicing your ability to capture detail. You can tell a lot just by a glance. The more you practice this skill, the better you will become. You can then recreate the scene, person and/or object in your Imagination. From there you and your Creativity can stare at it as much as you like.

To keep your Creativity happy and healthy, you need to be feeding him/her a varied and regular diet of interesting experiences. What is your Creativity’s favourite food?

(Mine, in case you were wondering, is subway train rides. The amount of people and conversations crammed into each car is a veritable smorgasbord of new sensations!)

Image credit: freerangestock.com by Chance Agrella.


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Save Your Creativity from the Deadline Stupor

Thinking and Thumb Chewing

Someone up the hierarchy informs you of a deadline. You must produce by a certain time, or else.

What’s the first thing you do?

If you’re Jessica, the first thing you do is look for something to eat. Deadlines always make her hungry.

Then what?

Then you realise you have no idea what you’re going to produce. What do you do when you have no idea? You turn to your Creativity.

And stare.

I can tell you, as a Creativity, there’s nothing quite so disconcerting has being stared at and willed into producing an idea. I don’t know about your Creativity, but I get self-conscious – and quickly mesmerised by the stare. Everything comes to a halt as we wait for someone to blink. Stupor sets in.

Bad start.

What should you be doing?

Finding an Idea

How can you break the stupor and help your Creativity find an idea? Try some of these tips.

Play

‘I’ve just been given a deadline,’ you say. ‘I’m on the clock. Now’s not the time to play.’

Actually, now’s exactly the time to play. In order for your Creativity to produce the ideas and answers you seek, you have to release the pressure a little and play the game.

Doodle. Talk to your Creativity out loud (in a secluded place if you’re worried about wandering psychiatrists). Roll words and phrases around in your head. Fire questions at him/her. Give your Creativity something to work with.

I’m serious about the doodling. Get yourself a notepad and coloured pens. Or try a whiteboard. Something you can scribble ideas on as they come to you.

Don’t be afraid to pursue weird and wacky trains of thought. Let your Creativity wander through different possibilities. You’re on a treasure hunt. Who knows where the idea is hiding. So loosen up and play.

Nail Down the Specifics

Tell your Creativity exactly what you need. Do you need a story, poem, concept brief, article? What’s the genre? How many words? Who is your audience? What points do you need to cover?

This information gives your Creativity constraints to bounce off.

But limit the demands to only what you need. Exclude ‘wants’ at this stage. If there’s a little leeway on some of these questions, then leave them open-ended. Give your Creativity a little wiggle room. You can add the wants from your list as the project evolves. At this point be accepting of different angles.

Encourage Multiple Ideas

At some point during all this, your Creativity will hopefully come up with an idea. Do not run off with the first thing out of his/her mouth. Breathe in, breathe out, and ask if there are any other ideas. Give your Creativity opportunity to pop a couple more at you. The first idea is not usually the best. So wait around and see what else there is.

Once you’ve got your ideas flying, move on to the next phase.

Working the Idea

Now you need to knuckle down and create. At this point the stupor will threaten to set in again. Great ideas usually require work to bring them to fruition. How can you do that in time to meet your deadline?

Write Yourself a List

Work out what’s involved in making this idea happen. List every task. Perhaps it’s as simple as just sitting down and writing. If so, go do!

Most projects require more preparation. Do you need to research? Do you need to outline? Perhaps you have to learn more about your characters.

What is it you need to do in order to make this idea a reality?

The list will not only provide you with a guide to what needs to be completed, but will also inform your Creativity about what you expect to accomplish. Sometimes your Creativity will get to a list item ahead of you, just because he/she knew it was coming.

Find One Thing You Can Move Forward On

Often the length of the list and the size of the project is just overwhelming. And I can tell you from experience, the more options there are, the more paralysed your Creativity becomes. So what do you do?

Pick one thing, just one, which you can manage today – or at least start on. Find something you can make progress on. Focus on that one thing until you’re done. Then mark it off your list. Your project will become like a game of Mahjong. Each move you make will reveal another move. Slowly, slowly you’ll make progress.

Set Aside Time

Don’t let every deadline result in the same desperate, eye-popping squeeze on your Creativity the night before. Set aside regular time in the days, weeks and/or months leading up to the deadline.

Be kind to your Creativity. Avoid procrastination. Your Creativity works hard for you so repay in kind.

And if you happen to finish a little earlier than your deadline, what’s so bad about that?

Eliminate Distractions

Creativities are usually very easily distracted. If you turn the TV on, or start reading an interesting book, we get caught up in what you’re doing and forget what we’re working on. So while we all need time to replenish our Creative sponges, if you’re working towards a deadline try eliminating the distractions and focusing on what you need to accomplish.

And remember, television or a good book is a great reward for completion.

An Important Consideration

We’ve spoken about how to work towards a deadline, but there is one point you need to keep in mind.

Not all deadlines are worth it. Sometimes you have to say no. Protect your Creativity from unreasonableness – either from your boss, or from your own expectations. If the deadline is too tight, you’re just going to damage your Creativity in the process.

Pick your deadlines, and then work together with your Creativity to make them a reality. One step at a time.

For more ideas on staying creative when facing deadlines, read this post over at Bit Rebels.

How do you generate ideas when facing deadlines?

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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Creative Constraints – Or How to Wall Jump Like Mario

Mario jumping from wall to wallHave you ever played a Super Mario Brothers game? My favourite is Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii in all its delectable 3D planetary madness, but that’s probably beside the point. I bring this to your attention to discuss wall jumps.

A wall jump, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the term, is when you scale to normally unreachable heights by jumping between two conveniently placed walls. This is a skill Jessica has great difficulty mastering, but that’s also probably beside the point.

The point, if I understand where I’m going with this, is: If the walls are too close together, Mario can’t move. If the walls are too far apart, Mario can’t wall jump at all. They have to be just the right distance from each other to make this feat of game magic possible. (Goldilocks would have loved this game.)

What does this have to do with your Creativity?

Placing Creative Constraints

Some people believe freedom is essential for Creativity. They say endless time and boundless possibilities are exactly what’s needed. Well, I have news for you. That may work for some special few, but most Creativities I know would find that kind of freedom paralysing. It would be like Mario stuck walking along an endless green platform with nothing to jump on.

You end up with too many possibilities and yet none at all. Your Creativity blinks at the curvature of your brain and his/her eyes glaze over. He/she continually waddles past idea flowers and interesting walking mushrooms without ever advancing to the next level.

Constraints are essential to get the game started. For instance, knowing whether you need to create a poem, short story, novel synopsis, children’s story or mystery thriller greatly alters the skills, materials and mindset you use.

Work out what you want to achieve. If you need to write, give yourself a word count, a subject, the first line, a character – something which gives your Creativity a wall to jump against.

Yes, as soon as you start nailing down the specifics you cut off access to other things that could have been. But without the wall you’re really holding your Creativity back from the creative heights he/she could achieve. And the good news is there’s always more to explore later. You can start on the other side of the wall in your next project.

But one wall is not enough. For a proper wall jump, you need a second surface.

Placing Deadlines

While most Creativities eye off deadlines as if they were the grim reaper come to snatch their baby, I think we all realise how important deadlines are to the completion of projects. Without deadlines, you would forever tinker with the details, or worse – never get around to starting the project at all. 

We’re not necessarily talking about massive impending deadlines like ‘must have a submission-ready manuscript by the end of next month.’ A deadline can be something as small as ‘I am going to sit at my computer for the next 20 minutes and just keep writing.’

Search out deadlines (like writing contests) or create your own (like inviting your writing friends around at the end of the month to discuss progress on your projects).

Set specific goals with specific completion dates.

Some Creativities will balk at this, but if done right, you’re really giving your Creativity a wonderful opportunity to explore new heights.

Watch Out for Tight Corners

I mentioned earlier that if walls are too close together, Mario can’t move, let alone jump. Likewise, if your constraints and deadlines are unreasonable, then you’ll just paint your Creativity into a corner where he/she will live like a sardine until such time as you realise you’ve lost the game. So continually evaluate the walls you choose, because their effectiveness will vary depending on your Creativity’s experience, skills, preferences and mood.

Why does all of this matter so much? Well, if you’re happy for your Creativity to potter around on ground level fiddling with the mundane, then it’s probably not that important. But if you want to advance your projects and eventually reach the goal (a finished manuscript or just a big shiny gold star) you need to start moving upwards. And the best way to do that is to wall yourself in. Counter intuitive, no?

Have you found this method works?