Are you a writer who struggles with the highs and lows of creativity? No – don’t leave!! I really couldn’t think of a better opening for this article.
Of course, writers are plagued by creative pitfalls, no denying that. The writing mind is like living in a hut with Goldilocks, running amuck from “Too many ideas! Oooh, myyy!” to “I’ve got nothin’. Bye.”, or “Damn the critiques! I’ll do what I want.”
All three scenarios can have you shlumping around in your pajamas for a month, with your only portal of light, or air, being the tiny hole where your nose pokes out of your hoodie, because you couldn’t cinch it any tighter. Argh!
While this is all true, most writers would not trade their creative woes away for something else. We love our art, our craft, our passion. The creative mind of a writer is like no other. We can be anywhere, doing multiple things at once, while holding a conversation, and Goldielocks is bouncing on the bed in our head, reciting storylines! (or crying)
Sounds a bit much, but it’s often true. You may ask yourself whether it’s possible to be, perhaps, a little too creative? Are we all a little cray-cray?
Few people ask this question. And it depends on what exactly anyone means by too creative. More often, than not, people delving into their creative side find themselves seeking inspiration and guidance from external sources to get the creative juices flowing again in the wastelands of our minds.
But, yes, there are times when writers can feel we are tossing about in a crazy ocean of creativity, awash in tides of ideas with insufficient time or outlets to capture and develop them all.
Fear of losing great ideas to the depths of our turbulent minds can cause panic. We may start several projects at once in a frantic effort to preserve ideas and give them the first breaths of life. Suddenly, we become spread too thin, finishing little to nothing, and feeling completely overwhelmed.
The crazy cycles of creativity can eventually leave us frustrated, exhausted, and most likely ineffectual. So, in case you haven’t read any writting tips lately, I’ve written my top three tips to help get that lunatic, Goldie, under control
1) Oceans of Ideas:
If you find yourself drowning in an ocean of ideas, fearful of having these gems sink away to the abyss – first, rejoice! You are fortunate to have so many concepts to deal with. It can also be overwhelming to the point of shutting down effective productivity. And as fun as it may be to constantly start new projects, it can cause you to never complete any of them.
The key to calming your chaotic ocean of ideas and actually see your writing projects through to satisfying ends is to simplify, organize, and focus.
Instead of starting a multitude of projects focus on one (maybe two, to keep stagnation at bay) and see it through to completion.
This may feel extremely difficult, at first, if your habit is to have many things going at once. There is really nothing, at all, wrong with working on more than one project at a time, many writers are successful at it. But if you never seem to complete them, or it takes much longer than you would like, it may be a good idea to scale down.
Get a little notebook dedicated to story or poem ideas. As the ideas pop in, jot a few brief notes for future reference, such as, short plot summaries, brief character descriptions, or scene outlines. In other words, important tidbits, you don’t want to forget.
Handy and ready reminders to utilize when you are set to plunge into your next WIP will clear the clutter from your head, keep you organized, and allow you to focus on the immediate project.
2) Deserts of Desolation:
In a creative drought, the ability to conjure fresh, exciting ideas seems to evaporate. For a creative mind this mental dry spell feels like being lost, wandering in a hopeless desert landscape. The lack of ideas is far worse than drowning in overabundance. Though it may be a comfort to know many writers suffer from these lackluster voids of uninspired inertia, it doesn’t make it any less of a bummer.
But don’t despair, wail, moan, or chunk down mounds of poptarts for more than a few days, anyway. The only way out of the desert is to drag yourself through it. This does not mean you must sit in front of your key board everyday, pounding on it like a brainless ape, or Jack Torrance, for that matter.
No. I’m a much better advice giver than that!
This is a journey of nourishment. As dried up as your brain may seem, you can coax it back to a writers’ fantasyland, where waterfalls of inspiration await. Here’s how you can nurse your creativity back to health over the course of …well, we’ll let your brain decide.
1. Take naps (rest rejuvinates the brain)
2. Eat some nuts (brain food)
3. Listen to music that moves you
4. Shop for a few books, one fiction, one poetry, and one craft (writing)
5. Make green tea (improves brain function/slows brain aging)
6. Read for pleasure
7. Take walks
8. Love on your cat/dog
9. Eat a delicious treat
10. Limit social media time
11. Take a bubble bath
12. Do something on your bucket list
13. Cook delicious meals
14. Spend time with someone you love
15. Doodle in a notebook
16. Close your eyes for five minutes, breath deeply, and feel nothing but the calm within
17. Write about how you feel and what you enjoy
These activities can be done in any order, as you wish. Before long, you will experience flickers of dreamy light and hear the call of inspiration.
3) Lonely Mountaintops:
The question of being ‘too creative’ is not only relative to creative abundance. It can also refer to the end designs of creativity. It is possible to be so uniquely creative, or sitting on the ledge of “don’t give a damn”, that your art is unrelatable or, at least, appreciated by very few.
In either case, it can feel as though you are standing proudly on the peak of a mountaintop with blue paint on your face, shouting “Freedom!”. Invigorating in the power, but a lonely glory.
Whether or not obscurity is something to be concerned about can only be reckoned by the mind of the creative individual. If focus of importance for the writer is placed on the commercial aspect of the art, i.e., financial gain and recognition, then a shift in mindset will need to occur.
If, however, you love the freedom to thrive outside the boundaries pedestrian expectation, without a care for acknowledgement or monetary rewards – then live it up! Open the flood gates and let the waters of creativity take you where ever they may.
It’s a tough choice, picking between the joy of writing what you want and reaping the rewards of writing what is popular or trending.
My advice to your sassy Goldilocks is as follows:
Do write what you love (that’s joy of passion)
Don’t chase trends
a) they are always changing
b) you may not possess the skill
and knowledge for the genre
c) no joy or creativity exists in
copycating for a few bucks
Do read a variety of books even if they are not in your writing genre
Do learn the basics of style and structure
Don’t obsess about writing “rules”
Do shout from the mountaintop (write your story wild and free)
Do recognize all first drafts are crap
Don’t delete anything!
Do rewrite, rewrite and rewrite to fix story holes, ensure flow and character consistency
Do read your story out loud to catch errors, hitches in flow and dialogue
In reality, you can enjoy the best of both worlds to some degree. No matter your ultimate goals with writing, and even if you tend to be very technically inclined with your structure – Write like a crazed demon first, clean up later.
One final note: Creativity should never be restricted. And who is to say, or know, what readers will go crazy for over ever changing times? You may be the one. It may not be this month, or next year, but never stop writing your passion and sharing it with the world. Goldie will approve.
Take care –