Glutton's Guide to Creative Ideas
One of Henry's Creative Ideas. Jan 5, 2008
I don't have time to deal with writer's block anymore. There's no room for it in my schedule. It's not that I don't get stuck anymore. I get stuck just as much as I used to but now I can't afford to sit at my desk with my head in my hands wondering what I should do.
I just move on.
When you cook your dinner, do you make just an entree or do you have side dishes and salads and deserts to supplement the main dish? Do you work your way diligently through them one at a time or do you jump from one to the other and back again, depending on which has caught your eye at the moment?
Probably the later. If not, try it. It'll improve your dining experience.
Writer's block isn't usually a lack of ability to do any writing. More often it's a problem with only one project. By having a feast of projects you can easily shift your attention from one to the other. You don't have to beat writer's block. You can just pick around it.
Super Human Focus and Concentra- aww Look at the Kitty...
There are times that I can sit at my computer and type until my fingers cramp and my eyes water. Those are the good times when I feel especially creative. Ideas just come to me.
Then there are times that the cat will meow and I’ll forget what I wanted to say. There's no explanation for why I can sometimes keep focused and why sometimes I can't stand to look at a word document.
In the past, I’d get mad about it. I mean, it was only a second ago that I knew exactly what I was trying to say or I had the perfect piece of dialogue and I was just about to write it down.
Now all of my creative ideas are gone.
I’d spend the next hour rereading, or editing, or just plain sulking.
That was when I only had one project.
For about a year after college, all I wrote was fiction and I only worked on one story at a time. I had plenty of other creative ideas but I didn't allow myself to go after them.
I was grumpy and no fun when I was writing because I spent about half my time writing and the other half wishing I could be writing and the third half (I think there's some overlap here) wishing the story was finished so I could move on.
I thought that writer’s who had too many projects never finished anything. I thought that focusing on just one project until it was finished was the only way to finish anything.
One at a time- slow, steady, and boring.
Then I started blogging
It was like finding a supermarket after years of eating just carrots. At first, it was just as a distraction and to keep my friends and family up to date on my life. Then it became a hobby. I started blogging as much as I wrote fiction.
When I’d get stuck in my fiction I’d switch to blogging, and when I got stuck blogging I’d switch to fiction.
It was nice- a second course to compliment my entrée. But that little taste left me hungry for more. Getting into the blogosphere was like walking into a grocery store for the first time. I saw the limitless opportunities in the writing world.
I was afraid to try it before, mostly because I was sure I wouldn’t like it. I once thought the same thing about oysters. Once I realized that I did like it, I started to wonder what other kinds of writing I discounted before that may be just as enjoyable.
Become a Glutton For Creative Ideas
Today, I have 5 writing projects on my desk. I usually work on three a day. I’ve gone from feeling like I didn’t have enough to write to wishing there were more hours in a day to write.
Give your creativity options. Pursue more of your creative ideas. Always have something it can work on and don't be afraid to start new projects. The creative mind has almost limitless energy but limited focus. By forcing it to stay on a certain path, you're working against your creativity. That may be what's causing the writer’s block in the first place.
By allowing it to wander wherever it wants or needs to go, you'll be allowing it to feast on the endless supply of creative outlets. When you come back to the project you left, you'll have a dozen fresh ideas.