Finding the Balance That Allows Creativity to Flow
I’m easily distracted, and even more easily dragged away from something I know might require patience and diligence. Granted, it’s not a state I have to fight all the time, but there are days when it’s all I can do to sit down in front of the computer and type a coherent sentence, much less an entire blog post, or a chapter re-write.
Most of the time, I’m able to fight the urge to plop down in front of the TV and watch another in a series of mindless movies or sitcoms. I’ve learned when the urge is too strong, it’s not worth fighting. I give myself a day to do nothing productive, knowing it’ll allow me to come back stronger when the mood becomes less insistent.
That doesn’t mean I’m less easily distracted. I still have to make sure I put my phone on DND, and close Social Media until I’ve knocked out a reasonable number of words or pages. I also have to fill my water bottle, and put something in my stomach that’ll hold me until I come up for air. Sometimes the partially enforced bouts of productivity last longer than expected, frequently because they were waiting for me to get out of my own way and just start.
Priming the Pump
Often, the problem isn’t getting going as much as it is starting. I don’t know why I become resistant to starting sometimes. Am I afraid of what will come from my fingers? Are there demons waiting to be unleashed upon the innocent masses? I admit, I have a couple of horror stories brewing right now, but in my defense, ’tis the season for horror stories. In a couple of months, maybe I’ll even pen a sappy, feel good holiday story.
One of the tricks I’ve learned when inspiration seems to elude me is to keep my fingers on the keyboard, no matter what. Fight the urge to examine my fingernails, or pick up my phone, or check email. Keep typing, even if I think I don’t have anything to say.
Deep in my subconscious lurks a creature who never runs out of words, never gropes for new topics of discussion. By keeping my fingers on the keyboard (and ignoring grammar and spelling for the most part) I allow her free rein to conjure as she must, weaving tales out of nothing, stories out of ether. In fact, if truth be told, that’s how all 3 of my NaNoWriMo’s evolved. a single thread of an idea, perhaps a character or two, and the rest was left to the willfulness of my demon muse.
Creativity is a Demon Child
She is a demon, as she operates by no rules but her own. She comes and goes as she pleases, and works best when I lift all restraints, and send my analytical self off to get groceries or some other cobbled together excuse to get her out of the way. I suppose the two are like a wilful, unharnessed, undisciplined child, and a buttoned up, rule crazy, unbending governess. They’re always at odds with each other, having entirely different ideas about how life should be lived, and operate best when kept apart.
That isn’t to say there aren’t times their efforts meld beautifully. The child gets bored of her creation once it’s done and wanders off to find new mischief. The adult picks up what was left behind and sees the value in it, but recognizes a need to organize things into a less haphazard format without subduing the beauty in the child’s playfulness.
I get stuck when I try to force words where there aren’t any, or where the right ones refuse to come. I try to bring the adult back too soon. The child’s will rises up, and she might cross her arms and pout, or fling paint at the walls instead of the canvas. When play is directed or even gently guided, she’s done. It’s no longer fun, and creativity becomes destructiveness.
A Time for Structure
Yet somehow, the child must convey the attitudes and beliefs of the adult in her work as well, despite her resistance to a more structured lifestyle. Deep down, she understands the adult perspective, and even values it in the right time and place. She knows without that perspective and the structure it adds to her work, she’ll be another child flinging paint at a canvas, or words on a page without form or format. At some point, she needs to show some willingness to comply with the expectations of, if not the world, at least her intended audience.
Wandering randomly is fine if you’re playing at the beach, or wandering along the paths through a forest or valley. When creating, there comes a time when organization, grammar, sentence structure, and visual perspective become important. Otherwise, you might as well spend your day drawing random spirals on a page, or typing nonsense words.
Unstructured Play in Morning Pages
There is a time and a place for nonsense and an unstructured approach. I call it my Morning Pages. What I write there is not for anyone else’s eyes. I myself rarely look back at what I’ve written, and in many cases, can barely make out the words when I do. It’s probably why I don’t follow the path of some writers who do their first draft longhand. If I did, the stories would never be shared as they’d be lost in translation. It’s not that my penmanship is all that bad, but I tend to mess up words while I’m rushing to get my thoughts down on the page, or use the wrong word entirely.
Morning pages aren’t meant to be edited or shared so readability isn’t secondary or even tertiary. To be honest, it doesn’t make the list at all. Julia Cameron may mention going back and looking for repeating themes, but for me, it’s the act of writing first thing in the morning that’s important to me. Unless a blog post or a piece of my ongoing healing happens to come out of a day’s writing, it’s something I do, then put it away and forget what I wrote.
Sometimes, I’ll air a particularly sticky dream. It might be to get it out of my head so it stops bugging me, or perhaps to get the memory to disclose it’s true purpose and message. Morning pages is the one place I write with no expectations. If I happen to get answers, great. If not, it isn’t important enough to even mull over, much less, bemoan. If I wander far from the initial topic as I seem to have done here once again, I’ll not go back and correct or redirect my wanderings. There’s a certain freedom in it that my creative, wilful child/demon needs regularly in order to corral thoughts and ideas to satisfy the analytical, sometimes boring adult the rest of the time.
Grateful for All The Pieces and Parts That Make Me, Me
My gratitudes are:
- I’m grateful for my multi-faceted personality that allows me to go from 0 to 1500 in short order, even when I think I have nothing to say.
- I’m grateful for the ability to separate my facets and allow each their moments to shine.
- I’m grateful for the solitude that, while sometimes stifling, gives me ample time to create, learn, and grow.
- I’m grateful for opportunities to wander through my head and see what old toys I might find to play with and resurrect; perhaps even re-purpose.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, creativity, dedication, motivation, inspiration, structure, randomness, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.
If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward