Three steps to a better creative process.

I posted a comment on Bob Walsh’s last blog post that I miss him posting. It’s been two weeks without another great article from him. Then I realized it’s been even longer since I’ve posted something here, felt guilty, and remembered I have something new to write about in terms of what I’m currently writing for a workshop.

Steady blog readers know I spent a good portion of my summer doing research for a new writing project on my plate this fall. The project has arrived, the deadlines have been set, and the writing is underway. A few new tactics have helped me so far:

I clean off my desk at the end of the day.

This is a tip I scored from Freelance Switch, a blog aimed at assisting wanna-be entrepeneuers going from corporate shackles to personal freedom. Leo Babuata presents “10 Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Day,” and I’ve really taken to his number nine tip, clearing off my desk. It helps me conclude a “work” session, and I get to come to the next one fresh. I’m typically a man of clutter, one who looks around with sudden realization at the piles of books, papers, DVDs, and half-full water cups (“It has dust in it,” as young Bo might say). Since giving Babuata’s tip a try at the home and work office, I’ve found it a refreshing way to approach my work station.

When I’m tired, I stop instead of trudge through.

Yes, deadlines loom and yes, I’m not where I want to be in my writing, but the alternative is staying up late with bleary eyes and weary fingers pecking away at an ever-warming laptop keyboard until my face hits the keys in slumber (with my luck, my nose will come to rest on the delete key). If I work when I’m tired, I only come to resent the work I’m doing. I write because I enjoy creating. Part of creativity is the process, so why should I resent the process? When I’m into it, I write and when I’m tired, I stop. As long as I give it a try every day, I’m happy.

If I don’t know the answer, I’ll come back to it later.

After doing what I feel is plenty of research, I’m still finding myself wanting to turn back to my sources for additional information as I write. But that’s a slow process, and starting and stopping in an endless loop isn’t that appealing. Instead, if I don’t know a bit of research which could make a particular writing passage better, I make a note and keep going, using my momentum to propel me forward. This helps with another pitfall I’m notorious for jumping into – getting distracted.

Pages are due in workshop on Monday, and we begin workshopping the next Monday. I’m not sure when my work will be up for comments, but I will keep you posted.

-nm

[tags]clean desk, writing momentum, writing research[/tags]

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