I feel like I have been in a season of self-induced change for so long, and those changes are going to stop anytime soon. My professional life as a teacher is exciting and full of challenges, but, like all good things, it is full of change. My home life is in transition as we set up our new house. We’ve been going room by room, painting, caulking, replacing plugs and creating a space that will be perfect for the next big change… the kiddos that we are hoping to adopt. Add to that the fact that our biological child is starting KINDERGARTEN in a few short months and you can see that it is a little all over the place in my world. It’s no wonder that writing, creatively and journalling, has been a challenge.
Whenever I find myself struggling to find the words and make the time that I dedicate to writing feel valuable, I have a few tricks that help me get out of a funk.
- Read a book about the Creative Life. Most of the time I read books about creative writing because that is the area that I most want to cultivate in my own creative life. Right now, however, I’m reading a book called Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic by Lisa Congdon. The book is all about developing and journeying towards an artistic voice, but I’ve found that so many of those actions that develop one voice also develop the other. I’m probably not going to pick up a paint brush after this, but I am going to have some insight into a different creative experience.
- Show Up. This one is hard. Routines make my heart go pitter-patter. I like to know that I am making progress towards a goal, whatever that goal may be. This act of showing up and writing is about consistency; it’s about not letting the connection between my mind and my fingertips get rusty and filled with doubt.
- Participate in a Challenge. This month, I’m participating in a thirty day writing challenge. I have a story idea that has been percolating in my mind for a middle grade fantasy novel. When I do these challenges, I use them as a way to flesh out my novel ideas. Today, the prompt was to “write a ‘tabloid’ style story for your favorite movie star.” I decided to put my favorite movie star in front of the forest where the talking trees are. He swears he was transported to another reality. See, it works. Then, I don’t feel like I’m not moving forward on my WIP, but I’m also allowing room for creativity.
- When I’m really stuck, I journal. I write about my days and my goals and my fears. Sometimes, just getting those feelings on paper frees up the space that I need in my mind for creativity.
- Finally, give yourself grace. It isn’t easy being a creative in a global pandemic. Just know that your voice matters, your creativity matters, you matter.
This list isn’t exhaustive, and I’m not an expert. This is just what I do when my creativity feels stunted by my complicated world. Try it out. See if any of these work for you.