Over the last few weeks, I’ve finally started dipping my toes back into the pool of writing fiction. I’m finally developing a story idea into a real book after more than a year of “absent creativity”—and at last, I had a revelation: my creativity hadn’t really been gone; it had merely been asleep, recharging.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a novelist. I would sit in my room at my desk for hours, plotting, writing, editing. The “life of a writer” consumed me. This was all I ever wanted: for it to be me, my characters, and my world. And of course, one day, a best-selling novel. But things didn’t quite work out that way.
If you were here with me last week, I told you about my NaNo adventure—writing a novel in a month—and why I decided to undertake such a task. Today, I want to talk a little about what I learned during the first week of my noveling endeavor.
As creatives, we sometimes struggle with maintaining a work-life balance—particularly when we impose deadlines upon ourselves and our work. Don’t get me wrong, deadlines can be helpful, magical even, when it comes to kickstarting your creativity, but we can’t let ourselves forget the value of margin.
If you’re a writer, you may have heard of NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month), where authors sprint to fifty-thousand words in just thirty days. If you’re not a writer, you’re probably wondering what possessed me to do something so stupid.
NaNoWriMo usually takes place in November, but halfway through April, I decided that I needed to write a novel now. I was tired of waiting for inspiration to strike from somewhere in the great beyond, so at the beginning of May, I did something I haven’t done in years: I just sat down and started writing.
We all have those days, right? The days when we feel anything but creative, and instead end up exhausted, burnt out, and unmotivated. I’ve had quite a few of those days recently, and they’re tough. It’s hard to get past the dead-zone and get to work.
Feeling unmotivated is one of the most frustrating and discouraging things we face as creatives. I mean, we want to do our best work, after all, don’t we? So what’s the problem? What’s causing this void in the creative well?
We of the 21st century live incredibly cluttered lives. We’re busy, scattered, and often exhausted, trying to keep up with the commitments in our lives, whether it’s work, school, or social engagements. Even when we do have free time, it’s often spent distracted.
We’re conditioned to live at a fast pace; constantly hustling, impatient, and strained. Free time, while important, feels indulgent. With various things competing for our attention each day, it becomes difficult to focus—and sometimes focus is exactly what we need.
Let’s admit it: life is crazy. Downright unpredictable. We live in a wide, wondrous, dangerous world swirling with mysteries; spinning with possibilities, endless and pulsing with life. It draws us deeper, seeking adventure, and yet we fear to enter the Perilous Realm, because we want to be certain.
Every day, we tangle with mysteries; brush with the unexpected. And most days, we resist it. We cling to our plans and expectations, pushing away the hidden gems of possibility because we fear the unknown and hate the unexpected. And sometimes I wonder: What would happen if we embraced it?
Recently, I talked about the prevalence—and damage—of internet addiction in our society. Over-stimulation of our minds on a daily, even hourly basis can act as a major handicap to our creativity and mental focus. If we want to make an impact with our art, it’s important that we address this problem.
Lately, my husband and I have been taking steps to fight our own social media addictions. It’s just so easy to click over to Facebook—or worse, leave the tab open while attempting to work on other things. It’s frustrating and depressing to reach the end of the day, only to look back and realize that you did nothing but waste time, so today I want to talk about five simple, everyday habits you can employ to help fight internet addiction in your own life.