“Can your creativity trust YOU?”
That is a powerful question. It was part of Elizabeth Gilbert’s answer to a reader’s question on Goodreads. Gilbert was sharing how to be creative and write when there’s so many other things that are taking our time and focus.
Your creativity is part of who you are, but asking if your creativity can trust you also sets it up as an entity apart from you. An entity that you must care for and nurture. You must respect it and use it. Your creativity is something that wants to be employed in meaningful work, not just something that you set aside most of the year and then trot out on command and expect it to perform at its peak. No, your creativity needs to be exercised and strengthened. It needs to be appreciated and allowed to grow.
Don’t ignore your creativity—grow it!
I recall a panel discussion at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference with two authors discussing a book idea they each had. The first author, I’ll call her Author A, described how this idea had come to her one year. She kept putting off writing the story year after year. The second author, Author B, then took up the tale about how she was visited by this idea and started writing her book.
Both authors talked about how they’d never met before the book was published. They had never shared details of this idea with each other. They found no connection that might have passed this idea between them. But Author B wrote and published the story that Author A had ignored for years. This idea had gone in search of a writer. The two authors became friends, and they are both more aware of nurturing the ideas that come to them. Neither wants their creativity to slip away in search of attention.
I know your creativity isn’t a puppy, but you do need to pay attention and play with your creativity. Though I don’t fear that your ideas will actually leave you, I wonder, if you ignore your creativity too long, will it sulk and ignore you when you finally show up?
Don’t wait until you feel inspired to write
If you want to write, then show up and write consistently. For me, consistently means daily. For you, consistently might mean every Wednesday and Saturday morning, the last week of the month, or even a couple of months EVERY year after the kids go back to school. Make writing a habit by identifying your writing cue and creating your writing ritual.
A note about what I mean by writing. If you’re thinking about your plot, your client story, or your outline—that’s writing time. If you’re trying to work out how to explain a concept more clearly—that’s writing time. If you’re jotting down client questions or client stories—that’s writing time. And of course, writing is writing time.
Let go of all-or-nothing writing time
Writing does not have to take hours and hours each and every time. Can you grab 15 minutes to expand an idea into a paragraph or two? Can you outline a chapter? How about drafting a case story?
As with organizing and exercise, 15 minutes of writing is more than nothing. In fact, 15 minutes a day adds up to eleven 8-hour days of writing every year. Moving your book forward 15 minutes at a time is progress!
Show up consistently and your creativity will trust you.
Show up for 15 minutes if that’s all you have, your creativity will trust you.
So... can your creativity trust you?
P.S. Read more of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Top 10 Tips for Writers to Stay Inspired and Kick-Start Your Creativity (Posted by Cynthia on October 26, 2015)
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author, Linda Hart