Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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Creative Action: Freewrite About Your Writing Fears

A little girl looking afraid. Is this how you feel when you're writing?

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Hi, I’m Jessica’ Creativity (you can tell it’s me because I’m writing in purple) and I’m talking about taking some serious creative action!

Today Jessica is over at Write to Done, blogging about how you can complete any project by using Completion Addiction! (I highly recommend you pop over there and shower her with celebratory pompoms.)

You’re probably already familiar with Idea Addiction – that irresistible high you get when a shiny new idea diverts you from your work in progress. One reason the high is so irresistible is because it distracts us from the fears we face on our current project.

All writers face fears of some kind – be it the fear that you’ll never amount to anything, or the fear that you’ve just ruined your best tuxedo by spattering yourself with fountain pen ink.

But there are two important things to remember when facing fear:

  • Number one, fear is changeable. Your fears change as you develop and learn. Therefore, they are not written in stone but are actually malleable.
  • Number two, fear isn’t permanent (unlike fountain pen ink, my condolences to your tuxedo). It can be overcome. It is a challenge for you to take on and conquer – followed by a feast and much dancing.

Fear can be combatted with something you naturally have at your disposal – words!

Discovering the Source of Your Fear

First of all, you need to discover why you feel this discomfort. Fear is your mind’s way of protecting you. If you’re standing on the edge of a sixty foot drop, or considering pitched battle with a pterodactyl, fear is probably a good thing.

But when it comes to writing, and other non-lethal activities, fear steps in too soon. It’s usually there because it doesn’t want you to get your hopes up, to be hurt by other people, or fall flat on your face in front of millions of adoring fans because you chose platform shoes instead of sneakers.

Fear can be nebulous to begin with. It tells you that you can’t write. It tells you the white page is scary.

It’s your job to start fighting back with your words.

Do you know what the best word to use with your fear is?

“Why?”

Seriously.

Try this scenario: You’re afraid you can’t write.

Now ask: Why?

Perhaps your answer is: You think you’re going to make mistakes and people will ridicule you.

Ah, we’ll now we’re getting somewhere. It’s not that you can’t write. It’s that you’re afraid to make mistakes. That’s something we can work with!

From there you can set about carving out a new mindset with your words. And as a writer, your words are your superpower. You can handle words and string them together to change a person’s mind – in this case, yours.

So, let’s give it a go shall we?

Follow these steps:

  1. Set yourself a timer for, say, fifteen minutes.
  2. Start freewriting (using a computer, a pen and journal, or even chisel and stone tablet if that method appeals to you). Do not stop writing until the timer goes off, even if it seems you’re just writing drivel.
  3. Name the fear or barrier you’re facing. (Are you afraid you’re a fraud? Do you think your work is rubbish? Are you worried other people will think you’re wasting your time?)
  4. Next, ask the question: Why? Channel your inner 3-year-old and keep asking questions until you get to the heart of the matter.
  5. Once you’ve discovered the source of your fear, then start writing about how it affects you.
  6. If you’ve still got time in your freewrite, begin sketching out a new way of viewing your situation. Use your works to challenge the fear and work on overcoming it.

This process won’t be easy, and it may take you several freewrites before you feel you’ve properly got a handle on this particular fear – but each time you face a fear and conquer it, you become stronger.

With that strength comes the confidence to take on the white page fright and come off victorious!

What fears are you facing in your writing right now?


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Is Your Creativity Out of Sorts? Try a Creative Cleanse

A woman looking thoughtful

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Your Creativity hasn’t shown up lately. In fact, you can’t remember when you last had a true burst of inspiration.

You’re feeling lonely and unfulfilled. Each time you sit down to the page you’re struggling to even form a sentence. You’re beginning to wonder whether your previous creative adventures were just a fluke.

You no longer feel like a true writer. A creative numbness has come over you and you have no idea how to find your way back to your inner Creativity.

If this describes you, then why not join us over the next 5 weeks and try a Creative Cleanse?

Why Creativity May Have Taken a Hike

When things are running smoothly, our Creativity is on hand to infuse our writing and everyday life with inspiration and fun. However, some of us haven’t experienced that feeling in a long time.

There are a number of things that could have a negative impact on our Creativity, such as:

  • A Busy Schedule – Our daily lives are usually filled with tasks and appointments that keep us moving swiftly through the day. If we have managed to insert writing time into that schedule, we may still feel under pressure to perform at speed and be efficient with the time we’ve set aside.
  • Fear of Failure – Negative emotions like fear and worry have a big impact on our creative life. If our expectations are too high, then our Creativity may just shuffle away and hide rather than disappoint us.
  • Overwork – Everyone needs rest, especially our Creativity. If we work our Creativity too long without refilling our creative well, then our Creativity has nothing left to give. If our habits don’t change, then our Creativity could be squeezed dry.

If you’re relating to any of the above descriptions, then you need to do something to change your habits now.

Respecting Our Creativity

I’m sure most of us watch what we eat and find time for exercise. We look after ourselves and every now and then we even pamper ourselves. We know we work best when we take care of our needs.

But a lot of us forget that our Creativities need similar care. It’s our responsibility to make sure our Creativity is as healthy and happy as possible.

It’s easy to lose touch with our Creativity’s needs. We become so focused on what we’re writing and the work we’re putting into the page that we don’t pay attention to the wellbeing of our Creativity.

Now it’s time to change all that. It’s time to give our Creativity some special attention.

Cleansing Our Creative Habits

To properly care for our Creativity, we need to do the following:

  • Provide Space to Rest – Creativities need downtime when they are not in demand, just the same as we do.
  • Cultivate Trust – Creativities need to trust that we will turn up to the page and respect the ideas we’re given (no matter how whacky those ideas may be). We need to regularly show our Creativity that we’re willing to spend the time it takes to work through the creative process.
  • Fill the Creative Well – If we want our Creativity to provide us with ideas, we need to be soaking her/him in idea juice. We need to be regularly refilling our creative well so our Creativity has plenty to draw on.
  • Practice Good Writing Habits – It’s a fact of life that some days our writing will be rubbish, but the habit is more important than the result. If we can prove to our Creativity that we will regularly turn up to the page, then our Creativity is more likely to grace us with her/his presence.
  • Work Towards Completion – Bringing an idea to fruition is a rewarding feeling. In order to reward our Creativity with this feeling, we need to focus our efforts on a regular project.
  • Learn What Makes Our Creativity Tick – Everyone’s Creativity is different. What works for one person may cause all sorts of problems for another person. We need to know what our Creativity likes and dislikes so we can cater to those unique needs.

How many of the above have you been able to do recently? It’s hard to remember all of these in an average week. That’s where the Creative Cleanse comes in.

What the Next 5 Weeks Will Look Like

The schedule for the next five weeks is as follows:

  • Week 1 – Actively Do Nothing
  • Week 2 – Restorative Reading
  • Week 3 – Freewriting
  • Week 4 – Choose a Project
  • Week 5 – Record Your Observations

It will take you 15 minutes to half an hour a day to complete the activities and I will be on hand to answer any questions you may have during the process.

If you’ve got any questions, just leave them in the comment section below.