Does this sound familiar?
You’ve set aside an hour to work on your book and leading up to that time, ideas are popping into your mind. You’re excited because you know this writing session will go well. When the time comes, you sit down to write and … nothing. You’re dry. That amazing idea that came to you when you were brushing your teeth? Gone. At the end of the hour, you’ve got a blank page—or maybe a few half-baked ideas.
A little while later, you’re driving your kid to rehearsal or mowing the lawn and the ideas start flowing again.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Creativity can’t be forced and this is a real conundrum for artists, especially when the time we have to dedicate to our craft is limited. When our writing is sporadic, there’s a lot riding on each session and that usually makes us tense. That tension, in the moment, is like a shut off valve. Oh sure, we have no trouble free-writing in our journals when we’re angry, upset and 48 other shades of stressed. But journal writing and novel writing are two entirely different things.
Creativity requires calmness. We have to relax and let it happen. Force negates.
We can’t force ourselves to be creative any more than we can force ourselves to fall asleep.
What we can do, is make writing a habit. For me it’s a daily habit. The stakes for each session are low because I know that if today doesn’t go well, I will try again tomorrow.
What is your writing habit?