If you need to catch up on this series, you can find prior blogs here:
Okay, so this may be a hard pill to swallow for us creative types. I don't know about you, but in the past I never believed creativity could bow to a time clock. After all, isn't inspiration an in-the-moment kind of thing? Doesn't Mother Muse bestow gifts of inspiration out of the blue, which means we've got to grab her with both hands before she flits away into the darkness, not to be seen or heard from again for who knows how long?
The surprising answer is a resounding NO. Creativity and inspiration are indeed mysterious in many ways, but also predictable in others. Inspiration is almost always a result of cognitive soup simmering on the back burner, slowly stewing in our tasty creative juices until a savory dish of inspiration is ready to be...
In our previous blog, Ten Steps Forward, Three Steps Back, we talked about the unfortunate fact that many of us have more unfinished writing projects than we do finished ones. However, in the words of one writing instructor, the big problems that writers face are actually few in number and are quite solvable. Since this often doesn't feel true to us at all, what else might be going on?
In this blog series, we'll cover steps of writing to lay down a roadmap, though these particular steps certainly aren't all-encompassing. The steps we cover aren't necessarily new either, but our perspective on them can be.
Here's the 10-step tour:
How many writing projects have you started? Now ask yourself how many you've completed? If you are willing to admit that you have abandoned projects hiding in your desk drawer or in a folder on your desktop, the real question is why?
I don't know about you, but a lack of good ideas is generally not the problem and after all, who doesn't feel excited by a newly minted notion for improving our business, decorating our house, making money for that dream vacation or writing the next book?
Often the problem isn't in the idea but in the execution. I know I've been guilty of excitedly starting a project, then getting frustrated (or bored) and setting it aside, only to start another project and do the same. Again, why? Well, on some level the problems I'm facing must feel too overwhelming or unsolvable for me to overcome or perhaps self-doubt sneaks in like a thief and steals away my resolve, leaving me to wander...
Do you feel stuck in your current writing project? Or maybe you know you want to write and even have a vague idea as to your topic, yet can't seem to move forward. Worst of all, perhaps you've become so frustrated that you just shove your ideas aside and walk away with no idea what to do next.
Despite your frustration, it is important to know that you're not alone and that this is a common problem for most writers at some point during their projects. In fact, I was talking with an accomplished writer only a few days ago -- one who has won accolades for her work and has had multiple books published -- and she expressed this same frustration and self-doubt with her own current project. For the sake of discussion, then, let's give this ubiquitous experience a name: this collective frustration and self-doubt is what I would call creative angst.
Since creative angst is a common (and one could say normative) issue, then...
While most writers love to write, most writers would also admit, if they are being honest with themselves, that some level of fear trails their efforts like an undesirable relative, showing up on the doorstep at the most inopportune moments. So what are these fears?
Common fears include whether their writing or plot is "good enough," whether readers will enjoy their work or whether their ideas are sufficiently unique or their style approachable. Most certainly for debut writers, the added fear of whether they will ever find an agent and get published is thrown in for good measure. Now, how much these fears stops writers from reaching their goals varies widely. Interestingly, whether one has been published or enjoyed success in terms of sales, recognition or positive reader reviews does not seem to deter this wily tag-along.
If such fears keep you from writing, it's important to know you're not alone. For those who completed the survey after our recent...