- Someday Lesson: Creativity and chaos are not synonyms.
When we think of a typical artist, we picture a person living in chaos, papers or paint everywhere, abandoned food rotting on the table (or floor), appointments forgotten, and sleep patterns only a chaos scientist could understand.
Ask many writers about their writing process (or watch movies about writing such as Stranger Than Fiction or I Capture the Castle) and you’ll get an impression that this chaos does nothing for getting writing done (contrary to popular belief). In fact, many writers (myself included) will often do anything other than write (so indulge the chaos). You see, as much as we love the creative process, it overwhelms us.
I don’t know about other writers but for me, when I write I feel all the emotions of my characters often all at once and this avalanche of feeling plugs my ability to get the words down on paper. In her fantastic course, How to Think Sideways (now off the market), Holly Lisle says:
We want and need feelings. We will die inside without them. But sometimes, sometimes…sometimes, dammit, we need to think. You cannot plan a career with the thinking half of your brain tied behind your back.
NaNoWriMo as Motivator
Many writers use National Novel Writing Month (which started November 1st) as a way to apply discipline and get themselves thinking as well as feeling. A writer “wins” NaNoWriMo if he or she can get 50,000 words written in the month.
Although I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, I did it once (but didn’t “win”) in 2007. I credit the month with giving me the drive and the habit to write regularly and push through to the end of long projects.
With everything else going on in my life, I don’t have the time to commit to the NaNoWriMo schedule, but the idea of corralling creativity through structure gave me a different idea.
This month I plan to take structure to an extreme. I’ve set up my Google Calendar to ring an alarm through the day to move me onto the next task in my list regardless of where I am in the task.
I’ve broken my day into sections, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. I also have marked off breaks where I will purposefully NOT be productive. By being so rigid with m schedule I hope to increase my productivity, focus more on what I really want to get done, and have more time dedicated to non-productive activities (like doing things with the boyfriend).
Throughout the month, I’ll be reporting my progress here on the blog, because of course, an experiment has no worth if no one measures the before and after. And what will I be measuring?
- Amount of writing done (word count / progress on an outline)
- Guest posts written
- Blogs commented on
- Various Someday Syndrome visitor statistics
- And various other actions that should draw in more readers and clients.
Now it’s your turn. I’m sure there’s some way that right now you could put just a little more structure in your life and in turn be more creative with your time.
Speaking of which, I’d like to congratulate Emma for winning the October contest. At the end of the month maybe we’ll get her to do an update to her Someday Syndrome Interview and see how the month has changed her situation.