Making space again for creativity

Ah, back to blogging. I only managed to write one blog post in the past two years. But I think about blogging, a lot. I buy notebooks with the intent to jot down blog post ideas, drafts, and outlines. Some nights I wake up with paragraphs floating through my brain.

It’s just hard these days to write a post, at least the type of post I want to write. One that is well researched, meticulous, and full of salient, compelling ideas. I have little spare time and find myself bumping into the following excuses.

  • There’s no need to write that post because it’s already been said
  • No one will care
  • You’re not a compelling writer
  • You don’t have enough time to create something that’s perfect

So I close the laptop and agonize about how I failed to write a blog post. Oh, the pressure I put on myself! The reality is that these excuses are simply roadblocks based on negativity, fear, and doubt. Well, I’m ready to leave that kind of self-defeat behind.

The turning point

One afternoon, I received a text from one of my lifelong friends. The text had an image attachment, which was a photo of a short story, typed on a typewriter, that I sent to my friend over seventh-grade summer break. The story was about a bank heist planned by a group of teenage friends. They had to break into a safe to capture a rare jewel for a mysterious benefactor.

We had a fun laugh over it. And then my friend reminded me how much she loved the letters I wrote and pictures I drew for her. I completely forgot about my creative past-times. When did I stop writing stories? Why was I no longer drawing, even though I loved it so much?

I need to start creating again. But it’s clear I need to take baby steps. For whatever reasons, I’ve conditioned myself to block my creative impulses. The solution will be to take the following guidelines to heart, every day:

  • Write and draw for myself, not for what others will think. Take the pressure off myself.
  • When I feel like drawing, draw. When I feel like writing, write. Always have a notebook handy to make sure I’m ready when the inspiration strikes. Whether it’s at work, on the commute, after dinner, or during the kid’s bathtime.
  • Get started, and then get loose. Quickly doodle or sketch. Annotate doodles with notes.
  • Be silly, random, or incomplete. Don’t focus on making a complete composition or a perfect blog post on the first try.
  • Write in chunks. Over time, I can build these chunks into longer pieces that I can publish and promote. Allow ideas to grow, change, and evolve.
  • Indulge my children’s creative impulses. Buy them art supplies and help them create too.

And with that, I’m off to scribble in my notebook.

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