The Struggle of Being Creative

When I started this blog on a challenge from Jeff Goins, I thought to myself, this will be good.  It will force me to move forward, and the benefit will be that after 30 days, I’ll have 30 blog posts.  Ha.  What I didn’t account for was that I have never in my life forced myself to be creative for a 30-day stint.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I quickly ran out of ideas.  Two months later, I have 30 posts, with maybe 6 queued up and ready to go.  I am struggling with new content.  The good news is, I have had to revisit writings from the last decade or so.  I even pulled all my content from Blogger that was mostly a technical blog.  I have a post where I’m talking about getting my wife the latest Blackberry device.  That one will need an edit or two.  So what does my creative self do?

Idea creation is underappreciated

I’ve far from figured this out, so I’m projecting into the future a bit here.  I will figure out how to create ideas on a more regular basis.  I will have to force myself to take time each day to generate ideas.  Several of the writer coaches I follow have ideas on this – surf Quora, micro-journal, meditate, etc.  So far none of them have generated repeatable ideas.  I guess that’s when it hit me that being creative isn’t a repeatable process like other things in my life are.  I can’t write something once and be able to use it multiple times like I do in my day job.  This is a create-perfect-post-and-move-on cycle.

So here I sit before 6 AM, trying to come up with content.  I bounce between ideas I’ve started previously and new ideas.  Today, no ideas are filling my head yet, so I go work on something I’ve already started.  It seems to work to unclog the brain and get thoughts flowing.

One discovery: go with the flow

I have found one thing that seems to help. When I am in the middle of an idea stream, I write them down in list format:

Why do we move from naive to mean as we age from children to the elderly?
My John Deere tractor
My watch collection
Irrational love of a V8 engine
How I hate the cold
I can’t wear nice shoes anymore
My love of Linux
My poor liver

Not all of these will ever see the light of day, but on days when nothing comes to mind, I can grab one of these and just start writing about it.  I’ve had moderate success this way, but as you can see, there is no theme. When I’m in idea list-building mode, I just write down what comes to mind.  The key here is to not cull the list until some future time.  It’s that left-brain/right-brain thing, you don’t want the left brain trying to muck up the right brain’s creativity.

More in the future

I’m currently doing a 500-word-for-30-days challenge and this has proven more successful at writing, and less successful at posting.  I’m documenting that process as well because I have learned some very valuable things that I have already adopted and seem to result in my being able to more repeatably coming up with ideas.  That post should be done and up at the beginning of February.

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