The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘organizing

Desire for an idea is like bait. You’re fishing, you have to have patience. You bait your hook, and then you wait. The desire is the bait that pulls those fish in—-those ideas. David Lynch

Summer is almost upon us. Last month, I began a series on spring cleaning for your creative life. There are three steps in the process:

1) You reassess your space, your schedule, and patterns of mind to see what is supporting or not supporting your creative life.
2) You reorganize your space, schedule, and patterns of minds to allow you to create with more ease.
3) After reassessing and reorganizing, you rededicate yourself to having a productive and joyful creative life!

If you’ve spent some time reassessing your space, schedule and patterns of mind, in connection to your creative life, then you should be in great shape for the next step which is reorganizing.

Reorganizing is an essential component of this process. And, this is where we can get stuck very quickly. In dealing with physical reorganization, if we don’t plan carefully, we’ll leave lots of stuff just laying around.

We actually have to combine intention with action to yield results.

Besides thinking of what’s working or not working in your physical space, you might also want to evaluate how and when you schedule your creative work. Really, it’s about having a creative rhythm. The word schedule conjures up the endless to-do-list.

Spring and then summer usually bring new rhythms into our life that can support our creativity. We are often making time for fun travel, to being outside more, and to taking much needed breaks and naps. All of this can be used in service of establishing a different creative rhythm.

How can we reorganize our schedule to take advantage of this energy? How do we cultivate the patience and spaciousness of mind so that we catch those wonderful ideas that David Lynch refers to?

Here are some easy tips:
-Move your practice outside for some of this season. If your tendency is always to be tucked away in a home office, take opportunities to write at the beach, at the lake, or at a state park.

-Take more advantage of the longer periods of light this season. Can you rise an hour earlier to shoot your photographs or try writing later in the day during the season’s glorious sunsets?

-Keep an idea journal. This is a place for all your ideas as they bubble up. Give yourself lots of permission to allow this idea journal to be filled with musings that delight you. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to turn these ideas into ones that have to ‘become something’. The idea journal should be a place to have fun and play.

This week a colleague of mine sent me an article about productivity, “7 Super Common Habits That Productive People Ditch (Because Who Has Time for That?)

This is a great article as it highlights behavior that can derail us at work. The author presents compelling research and evidence that the habits listed below make us less effective. However, I also looked at this list and thought that many of these habits can hamper creative work, too. I used the categories as a jumping off point for thinking about how these habits affect our creative aspirations and how we can change them.


1. Checking Email Constantly

Guilty! When I’m not fully committed to writing or I don’t know what to write next, email becomes a constant temptation. It’s so immediately rewarding.

Solution: Take 5-7 minutes at the beginning of your writing session to outline your goal for that time. And make the goal manageable and specific. So, instead of, “I’ll work on Chapter 3,” try instead, “I’ll add sensory details to the second scene in Chapter 3.”

2. Waiting for Things to Be Perfect

Perfectionism is a type of inner critic. Often perfectionism is about delaying anticipated possible rejection or disapproval of one’s work.

Solution: Let others know that you intend to submit your manuscript (or whatever you want to get accomplished), by a certain date. Post it on Facebook or social media where people will hold you accountable. Savor the experience of letting something go. Remind yourself that if something of yours is rejected, that’s OK. You’ll survive.

3. Multitasking

I find that I multitask when I have anxiety about doing the next aspect of a task, especially if I don’t have a clear sense of what I need to do. Or, if I think that the task is going to be very difficult. It’s easier to do several things to avoid the challenge of deeply focusing on one thing. Multitasking is often a creativity killer. Creativity needs our focus and presence.

Solution: Ask yourself, are you multitasking because you haven’t efficiently budgeted the appropriate time for your creative work? Are you multitasking because you are stuck? If you need help with something, reach out to your creative community.

4. Inviting Interruptions

Don’t you hate when you are in the flow of your creative work and someone interrupts you? It’s imperative that you set up the optimal conditions so that you won’t be interrupted.

Solution: For some people that means putting a sign on their door letting others know that they are unavailable for a certain period of time.

5. Being Disorganized

Being disorganized according to many organizational experts is when you can’t get your hands on needed information within 2 minutes. I like to give myself a bit of a broader time period. I should be able to find something within a half hour or less. Can you find things in your studio? Do you have a record of where you are submitting your stories? Do you capture your great ideas in places where you can easily find them later?

Solution: Schedule quarterly cleaning and organizing sessions. Need more tips of how to get started getting your creative space organized and not get overwhelmed? See my spring cleaning for the creative life posts.

6. Failing to Delegate

This is a hard one as most creative professionals are juggling multiple jobs, a family and other commitments.

Solution: More support is always a good thing.  Are there things on your to-do list that you can trade with someone else, even for a short period of time? I’ve known writers who detested writing query letters and so traded this task with another writer. They then completed a task that their writer friend found difficult.

7. Never Saying No

Creative work takes time of all sorts, including incubating, developing and implementing. If you habitually say yes to things that don’t support your creative life, you’ll find yourself frustrated and resentful.

Solution: Practice saying no ten different ways. Eliminate what’s not essential and things that drain your energy.


Do you have any of these habits? If so, how are you working on them?

See the full article here.

Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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