Power Writing and Creativity 4: The Next Three Keys
So…Monday. Some people may have awakened this morning and groaned at the thought of another work week beginning. Others may be excited and happy at the thought. Hopefully you fall into the latter group. I like to believe that we creative types approach life, including Mondays, with zeal. What’s that? Do I hear you groaning again? Perhaps you need some more Keys to Creativity to perk up your day. Here you go:
7. Small Steps
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rome really wasn’t built in a day, and your creative projects won’t be either. Don’t get so caught up in the big picture that you forget to take the small, repeated steps. Make them as small as possible. Don’t think about the entire novel, think about the next scene. Don’t obsess about the entire canvas, focus on the next color of paint. Break things down into their smallest components. This seems so obvious–and yet I have to remind myself of it again and again.
8. Make It A Habit
The self-help experts say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Thus, if you make a date with yourself to write your novel or plan that garden, or work on that song you’re writing, and keep the date every day for 21 days, at the end of it you’ll have established a new habit. Don’t know if the 21 day thing is true or not, as I always forget to keep track, but I do know that consistency and the dreaded D word, discipline, are actually bedrock elements of creativity. This is counter-intuitive, but true. As I’ve said (over and over, to the point of causing retching) creativity is active. You’ve got to just do it. And the more you just do it, the easiest it gets.
9. Use the Power of Momentum
The really cool thing is that once you are consistently using your creativity, critical mass kicks in and you get momentum on your side. Momentum is what happens when you get the perfect idea for chapter ten when you’re in the middle of writing chapter nine. It’s what happens when you "hear" the perfect line of dialogue for your screenplay while you are writing the description for the scene. Once your mind is engaged with the work on a regular basis, it will help you by sending you messages and ideas. Apparently, the mind likes to be kept busy. The flip side of this is familiar to anyone who has set aside a creative project–it takes awhile to get back into it. You have to go back and re-read the entire novel in order to remember what you wrote, or you have to go back and review all the instructions on that sweater you are knitting. It is ever so much easier to just stick to it.
More keys to come on Wednesday and Friday!