And so now it is Friday, and I’ve been on the go all day and I’m about to go to Happy Hour. But could I leave to drink a Martini without finishing up the series on creativity? No, I could not. So here are the last three keys.
(You’ll find links to all the previous posts at the end of this one.)
10. Keep going. I know. Duh. But it is depressingly easy to quit when a block arises or a rejection comes in the mail or someone says something mean about your work. But don’t let the bastards get you down–writing all the time is the best revenge. Not writing well, or publishing well. Just writing. So keep at it. You’ll break through that block, the next letter will be an acceptance to a prestigious publication and the mean person will get hit by a car–not injured, because we can’t wish ill on people. Just shaken up enough so that they are no longer mean.
11. Take a break. Just the wee-est bit contradictory today, aren’t I? Well creativity is a contradictory activity, too. While you must commit to keeping going in the face of all odds, you must also learn to take breaks once in awhile. Let the work compost. Don’t force it. Sometimes walking away for a few minutes or even a whole day (see Anne Wayman’s post on taking time off here) can be the pause that refreshes. Just don’t let a break turn into procrastination.
12. Let it go. Ah, how good it feels to finish a piece of work, know that you’ve done all that you can do, and then release it out to the world with no attachments or expectations. At least that is the ideal. Doesn’t always happen that way, but we can continue to try. It is all too easy to hang on to a creative project and not let it take its rightful journey into the world–whether it is a novel seeking a publisher, an essay needing a home in a magazine, or a blog post. It is all too easy to find yourself slowing down as you near the end of the project, or for blocks to suddenly appear when all was smooth sailing before. Sometimes this can happen because of a reluctance to let the pages go. But what good are they going to do the world locked away on your computer, or in a drawer where nobody can find them? Send you babies out and let them find their homes. The energy of that will come back to you in surprising ways.
Letting go is a suitable stopping point for this series on creativity. Its a favorite topic of mine, however, and so I’ll no doubt be posting on it again from time to time. Here are the links to the first five parts:
You know where I’m off to now.