You’ve tried timers and headphones, writing on laptops, surface pros, paper, planes, subway trains, and auto-correct on mobile phones. But you haven’t tried this.
Before diving into a creative habit of any kind, you need to know what you are getting into. The number one reason that people who say they want to write do not end up doing so is because they 'don't have the time.'…
How much time do you need? That answer will vary, but what if you just start with 10 minutes?
A lot of people create when they’re feeling inspired. But when I ask, well how do you know when that happens, it’s like “You know, something just hits me.” So, before inspired creation occurs you first need to be conscious of it.
Your brain has a lot to say when you stop and get it quiet. But the idea in creating space for yourself is literally, just being present--waiting until the mind clears from the passing clouds of mental calamity.
Beyond treating illnesses such as depression and reducing anxiety, meditation is a creativity primer. Since is this the birthplace of every good idea that ever was (and well yes, shitty ideas too), you want to have a clear space for the ideas, solutions and everything else that needs to enter your consciousness but your mind has been too loud to receive answers. So start creating this habit first and foremost.
First thing in the AM, before checking your phone/email/social media, I do what I call the Wake, Shake, Take 10 to Begin Method!
20 minutes early--set an alarm (preferably one that is NOT on your phone)
Do a little physical activity to get the blood flowing.
Pull up Spotify playlist and alternately do jumping jacks and modified / regular pushups for the length of a song or 2.
… to settle in. Check my Guided Meditation Playlist including Zen Jen's Yoga Nidra on Soundcloud.
Find a cozy spot that is not your bed to either lay down or sit upright on a comfortable rug (shag rugs are my favorite).
… your day with ease .OK NOW look at your phone / e-mail.
2. Know Why You Write
So many of us jump into a new project or habit that seems fun and good for us and have trouble staying consistent with it. There are a lot of reasons why someone quits something, but if you are not truly aware of WHY it is that you started it in the first place, then it makes sense that it falls by the wayside to make space for other priorities.
You don’t ‘quit’ your job, ‘cause that’s what makes you income.
You don’t ‘quit’ your family ‘cause even though they drive you crazy, they are those that you love and care about you the most.
You know WHY you intuitively know why they are in your life and consistently dedicating time to your job and your family makes you a better contributor.
Why should your creative habit be any different?
YOUR DI-WHY CARD
Having a ‘WHY’ Card posted somewhere you see everyday can make all the difference when you’re tired, hangry, or otherwise not truly in the mood to make magic.
Pro tip: It never hurts to make it pretty. Use markers, graphics, or calligraphy. Or print it out and glue it to an index card with some other decorations. I don’t know, get crafty with it.
Questions to ask yourself to find your WHY:
What do you truly and deeply believe about your work?
Who do you most want to impact with your words?
What does the world need to know that only you can share?
3. Align Your Values
What’s MOST important in your life?
Yes, your creative habit is important, but what about your job, your family, your commitment to your volleyball team? Now you’re going to get really clear just where your writing fits in to the big picture.
A. First, what are your top five values?
Example: Freedom, Love, Expansion, Wellness, Fun
B. Define what each of these values mean to you.
Freedom means the ability to take the actions that honor your truest most authentic self.
Love is the most powerful energy that lives within each of us and connects us all … etc.
Expansion is continuously nurturing myself through awareness, acceptance, learning and teaching, etc.
C. Based on the definitions, what value/s do you honor by writing?
Example: Freedom, Love and Expansion
D. What needs to shift in your life to align your life with these values?
Example: I’d like to find an accountability group to help me stay on track with my writing habit which honors Freedom, Love and Expansion. I’d like to get up 15 minutes earlier so I can start my morning meditation routine which honors my value of Wellness.
4. Go With The Flow Goals
While many type A’s (like me!) think of SMART goals to create an action plan for their goals, I had an interesting discussion with my friend, artist and teacher, Anne Koller, who just published her first poetry book entitled Free to Feel. She offered a gentler and completely novel method to create goals that are more aligned with your purpose and lifestyle.
A.STRUCTURE GOALS AROUND NATURAL OCCURANCES
Right after you exercise when you have endorphins still running may be a perfect opportunity to express yourself through words. Also, instead of giving yourself, say, six months to write your draft, choose a date that is emotionally significant. Anne set a goal for her book around the anniversary of her dad’s death, which made her accomplishment especially sentimental since she was honoring him as well.
B. GIVE YOURSELF SPACE WITHIN THE GOAL TO EXPAND
Setting goals that are achievable allow you to feel good about your progress along the way and allow you to continuously have a milestone to reach.
C. CREATE A STRUCTURE FOR WRITING IT DOWN AND ALSO FOR SHARING IT
Make it easy for yourself to write ‘in the moment’ and to share it. Start connecting with your audience and community before anything is ‘done’. It’s incredibly motivating!
5. Manifest Success
“Everything that you see was once just a thought in a man or woman’s mind.”
Every aspect of our experience is a manifestation of the mind. That is why imagining the outcome of your writing goal--getting your book read by someone who’s life you are about to change--is a powerful way to fast-track you to getting there.
So write this down:
[Title] is Done
What does it look like when you are done?
How does it feel when you are done?
Visualize what comes to mind when you’re done with your piece. Feel the feelings of what happens when you’re done.
Doing this on a consistent basis will literally align you with the “good feels” and will allow you to reach greater creative heights and will align the universe to your goals. It’s part magic, part quantum physics.
Once you choose to believe in manifestation and experience it for yourself, you will never choose otherwise. Suddenly, you play the leading role in the grand saga of your incredible life. You have a say in your fate; ain’t that great?
So, now you have an opportunity. Join a community of fellow writers that will keep you accountable every day while you gain confidence and traction in bringing your literary dream to life.