In May of this year, I decided to attempt to write a novel in a month. I knew it was a long way before November, but my story was demanding to be written—immediately. So I went for it, and I failed.
I know people who have won NaNoWriMo three times, four times; heck, some of them five times! Surely I could do it once. So on May 1st, I sat down to begin my one month noveling adventure, only for it to come screeching to a halt roughly around the 25k mark. However, despite not reaching the illustrious goal of 50,000 words, I don’t consider my NaNo experience a complete failure for two reasons.
We’ve all heard it proclaimed from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest: “Hustle, hustle, hustle!” Pithy quotes from overly-ambitious bloggers tell you that “Good things come to those who hustle!” They warn you against “nibbling on mediocrity” because it’s better to choke on greatness.
Now before you write this off as an excuse to laze around in the comfort of mediocrity, let the record show: I believe in hard work. I’m all about dedication and achieving excellence. But this idea of hustle—of constant motion—has to go if we are to achieve anything beyond absolute burnout.
Writing is hard.
Staring at a blank page waiting for words to come is one of the most grueling and disheartening experiences. It’s maddening.
Of course, you already know that. You’re a writer. This is your job. The real question is—how do you overcome this mind-numbing roadblock and get productive?
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”–or what I imagined it to be–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’re like many creatives, you probably find yourself struggling with productivity. I know I do. Some days, it’s painfully difficult to get “into the zone” and start creating. And quite often, it’s not for lack of inspiration, but focus.
Maintaining focus is key to achieving the kind of productivity you strive for—and it’s something that’s become increasingly difficult in our distraction-plagued first world. I’ve already had to spend most of my morning fighting off Facebook and Instagram. If you’re anything like me, this is a daily struggle, and so I want to share a few tips I’ve been using to help enhance my focus.
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.
Did you know?—clutter is killing your creativity. Little by little, it accumulates in corners, files, and even in the recesses of your own mind, draining away your creative well with distractions until you’re left feeling helpless, frustrated, and completely burned out.
I’ve talked before about simplicity, and how it is not the same thing as minimalism. However, it is not uncommon for minimalism to become part of living a simplistic lifestyle. The truth is, these two often walk hand in hand, and today I want to talk about a few ways that minimalism, specifically, can help to rejuvenate and enhance your creativity.