As some of you may know, I am a writer by trade. Although I’ve been writing forever, I find that beating the insecurities and procrastination that come with attempting any creative project and actually sitting down and doing the thing is HARD. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it, and we are very good at convincing ourselves we deserve a break. This type of mentality, however, doesn’t get shit done. Although the creative process definitely comes with many hurdles, and the flow of creativity ebbs and flows, we do have the capacity to push through and keep going. If we wait for motivation to find us, we will never get to where we want to go. Creativity and motivation are those strange types of things that once you start, it becomes easier and easier to keep going with good results. Throughout my time writing my novels, I have learnt a few crucial lessons that apply to completing any creative project, and I want to share them with you.
You just have to start.
You can’t edit a blank page.
This is my absolute motto for writing. If I don’t write anything, I have nothing to edit later. I can spend three hours writing and it can be absolute shit, but at least I’ve got something to work on. I’ve spent weeks on one chapter just to scrap it, and that’s okay! Without starting in the first place, I wouldn’t learn what works and what doesn’t. So, sit your ass down and just start making your thing.
Block out times.
Following on from my first point, block out times to get it done. Fuck waiting for motivation, because you’ll wait forever. I like to set a timer (the forest app is very good for this as it has a little animated tree that you kill by going off task) and just sit down and do it until the timer runs out. I can be really not feeling creative at all, but if I at least write one good line, that’s a line I hadn’t written before.
Don’t fall into miracle traps.
We always want to get things done faster, better, more efficiently. But, for a creative process, there are no shortcuts. The only way you will get to where you want to go is with complete and utter dedication, hard work and resilience. There are no miracles in this life, and you are responsible for your own success.
Make sure you are always being inspired.
Although motivation isn’t necessary, creativity is. So, make sure you are always creative, even if you don’t FEEL creative. Take a notebook and pen with you everywhere and write down anything that inspires you. That strange conversation you overheard at your local cafe could make a brilliant artwork one day, so fuel your creativity and overload yourself with ideas.
Don’t ever stop working on your craft.
Never think you are good enough to stop learning your craft. I read about two books a a week to improve my writing style, vocab and sentence flow. I am constantly consuming movies, tv shows and youtube videos in my genre of work. I am reading articles at least three times a day on relevant things. I am making sure that my writing is never neglected and I practice, practice, practice. You can never be too good at what you do, so never stop improving it.
Surround yourself with all the things.
For inspiration help, I love to keep a corkboard with a whole heap of random stuff relating to my novels on it. You could have a moodboard, pictures, even a pinterest board, but make sure you are surrounded by things that pertain to your project. You can’t forget about it or pretend you don’t have to do it when it’s looking you dead in the eye.
Use your peers to help you.
Getting peer feedback from honest friends is a sure fire way to help you figure out your path. I have a select few friends and family that read my work and help me out, as I can get so stuck in my own head that I miss things when I edit myself. There is also nothing as motivating as having a friend say “hey, this is really good!”
Remind yourself why you are doing this.
Why are you doing this project? Are you bored? Are you working for a school/work/uni project? Are you being paid? Is it a hobby? Are you working towards an end goal? Make sure you know why you are spending your time on this thing every time you lose sight of your motivation. It doesn’t matter even if your answer is something as basic as “I’m bored” because if you don’t do the creative thing, you’ll still be bored. Reasoning is the biggest motivator, so keep in mind the why and the rest will follow.
What are your biggest creative tips?