Creativity planning

Every January I get out my notebook and write out my goals.  I keep most of my notebooks and flipping back through them for years upon years, it was the same thing with some slight variation:

  • lose weight
  • get published
  • improve work/life balance and take care of my family
Sooooo, let’s just take that as a given, right?  Do I even need to write that down?  Yes.  yes I do.  It’s reaffirming the direction I want to go.  But it does not help me get there.  A plan is much more useful.  How do I lose weight? What do I need to do to get published?  Setting out actions to take and scheduling to do them, daily, is the best way to get those goals.
This year I want to get out of that 3 goal rut.  I’ve been charging along with my head down for a while.  I need to create, learn and grow.  I need to nurture my inner artist, taking the time to play and enjoy life.
What I want to do in 2012 (the year of the Dragon!) Brainstorm
  • develop Jane’s Folly – blog at least weekly, if not more
  • learn about Twitter
  • revise a manuscript for publication and send it out
  • read a lot of books about creativity, writing and motivation
  • take “artist dates”
  • take classes?
  • go to conferences about writing, gaming and my profession
  • make connections with friends and other creative people
  • start drawing and painting again
  • make a zine of my friend’s work?
  • make family videos
  • collaborate on a project
  • find ways to be creative at work- kids crafts, programs, displays
  • knit, sew and craft
This may seem overwhelming, or not enough.  To me, it is both!  The next step is time management.  I’m a mom of 2 with a full time job.  When will I do this stuff?  I need to schedule it.  Write in my calendar- or  something else will take its place.  I’m currently listening to the audiobook “Time Management From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, and I recommend  it.
So, go ahead, make your list.  What creative, nurturing things will you do this year that will help you grow as a person?

writer’s block

Right now, nothing I write is any good.  In fact, it’s horrible.  Worse than drivel.  It is so hard to fight against the inner critic.  While it is destructive, it’s also subtle.  I don’t even realize I’m sinking, that I’m avoiding the few precious moments I have to write with excuses.  Then the excuses run out.  Here is the time.  Here is the place.  Here are all the resources I need to work on this project.  Silence.  Oh, all right then dear, how about this project?  Silence. No worry, let’s just try this one.  Rapidly going through all potential projects and dismissing them as not worthy.  Then I realize that it’s not time management that’s the problem.  It’s pre-judging.  In my mind, nothing is any good.  I should just give up, because I can’t write.  I’m just fooling myself that I could ever publish a novel.  No one would ever like such boring, trite, clunky prose, plots tangled up in cliche and melodrama.  No editor would waste her time on it.  My best friends would only read it to be polite.

 

Is it any wonder that it’s easier for me to start something than to finish it?  I’ve done lots of first drafts, segments of stories, bits and bites, but hardly anything is really polished. I get to a certain point where looking at the story gives me a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if I were reading an eviction notice or an obituary.  I have eight works in progress.

 

So I surf the net, do laundry, read, watch tv, stare off into space, instead of write.  Then, in the last few moments before falling asleep, I try to write something, finding my head nodding over my computer.

 

The only solutions I have are to not start anything new until I’ve completed something, and to find some other person to give me input, to tell me, in a way I can believe isn’t just being polite, that my work doesn’t suck.  That, in fact, I should keep going. It may not be award-winning, paradigm shifting stuff, but it’s good enough to publish.

 

Anybody?

Creativity without “purpose”

Sometimes I struggle with myself about creative endeavors.  Writing in hopes of publication, crafting useful items and hand made presents, that is acceptable, but playing around creatively?  I shouldn’t, some boring old practical part of me says. I’ve convinced that inner editor that this blog is a practical thing to set up my platform as a writer, never mind that no one is going to read it.

Yesterday I took a list of all my friends on Facebook and gave them all their own theme songs.  I actually took a few days, grabbing a few minutes here and there, on this project, listening to songs, thinking about how I felt about each person.  I found the songs that represented them in my mind at the present moment.  I took into consideration the type of music, the lyrics and the associations I had with the songs.  There were a few where I realized that I really didn’t know much about the person at all, and had to fudge a little.  It helped me see who was on my list.  Everybody “made the cut”, though.  All that were on the list were either people I knew well or wanted to know better.  So even though this will never gain me fame, it was not purposeless.  I need to open myself up for creative play, it will always have benefit, even though it might not be obvious.  Creative play is good for mental health.