The past few months I’ve done some guest blogging at The Girl Who Knows. Below are links to 2 recent posts. I also thought I’d share with you a bit of what I learned from the experience.
1. Deadlines are useful.
I said yes to doing this because I wanted to become a better writer. I also wanted to practice writing for deadlines I’ve agreed to with someone else. I set deadlines for myself because without them I would only write, create, exercise, etc. when I felt like it… which historically looks like bursts of activity followed by long periods of not getting much done.
But deadlines with others are different. There’s accountability. When I was late I couldn’t just shrug it off. I had to write and tell her. And then I had to bust my ass to complete my post. This made me think about the power of my word. And how much I want to honor the agreements I make with myself with the same power as I do with others.
2. Planning ahead makes the creative process a million times more enjoyable.
My own writing flow is to write about things I’ve heard and seen the week before. This usually works but sometimes gets me in trouble. Maybe not much happened. Or I’m not able to clearly articulate it. Or I’m too “in it” to speak about it. Or it’s vulnerable and finding the courage and grounding to share it isn’t coming easily.
With TGWK’s, I had to write skeleton outlines about 6-weeks in advance so she could see what I was thinking of writing and give suggestions if necessary. I know planning doesn’t sound like the most revolutionary idea but if you procrastinate and/or often feel overwhelmed with your life like I do, planning is genius because it takes load of stress off your shoulders. That said…
3. Do not procrastinate. Do not procrastinate. Do not procrastinate.
I often leave writing deadlines until the day or night before. This is not an ideal situation. Tension (for me) leads to feeling pressured and getting scattered. Ideas and word smithing don’t flow well in this environment. Plus, it’s just not fun.
The few times I wrote my posts for TGWK’s weeks ahead (because I already had the basic skeleton written out so why wait, right?) were wildly more enjoyable writing experiences because I was not stressed. I’ve been taking this into my own writing and various deadline and wha’do’ya’know – I’m feeling less stressed and enjoying the process more. Go figure.
If you procrastinate with art, exercise, deadlines, leaving the house to get places on time, or anything else, contemplate this:
Procrastinating is avoiding feeling.
4. Writing (& all creativity, really) can be a slog. But overall it’s miraculous & worth the effort.
Writing is a persnickety. It reminds me a lot of doing a jig saw puzzle. Sometimes it flows with ease and I feel buzzy with satisfaction as the pieces come together. These moments are fantastic – like the Muse and I are one!
But most of the time, it feels more like hunting and pecking for the right words while managing various levels of brain fog, inner criticism, and Facebook-tea-cat-email distractions.
Because of this, I think Steven Pressfield titled his epic creativity book The War of Art really well. Because it does (often) feel like an inner war to express yourself… but the victorious feeling at the end when your creation lands, just like the feeling after a great workout, is worth it.
If you think people who put themselves “out there” experience more ease in the creative process than you do, I’m here to tell you that at least for me, that’s not the case. Creativity is sometimes epic and soaring, but other times it’s a tedious slog. It can be emotionally confronting, require more discipline and patience than comes easily, and ask you to be vulnerable as you show parts of yourself to others through your artistic expression – whatever the form is.
But that’s why I like it: creativity changes the creator… for the better.
It makes you more confident, daring, clear, savvy, sharp, open, and determined. It makes you a better listener, a more experimental player in life, and more able to share and take a stand for your perspective. It makes you feel more courageous to be on the court of your life, instead of watching from the sidelines… which is what living’s all about.
Here are two pieces I’ve written I’ve not yet shared. If you’d like to see a couple more, click here.
Want more creative inspiration? You might like:
• Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to Finish
• Video: Really Nervous Woman Wow-ing the Crowd With Her Singing
• Facing the Fears that Stop Your Creativity & Cultivating Your Creative Expression Anyhow