Check out this amazing video clip of Steve Jobs as he discusses the one thing he thinks will change your perspective of life. He firmly believed in challenging himself, others, and the limits of technology for sure but he also believed in challenging everything around us, including the systems that govern our lives.
We live our lives in complete acceptance of what we see around us without thinking much about it. There’s no shame in that, we all do it. As children we have such a narrow perception of the world, we hardly know anything beyond our home town. We get caught up in decisions about careers, school, money, family… and never think to question how we run our lives.
Years ago I was working in a cubicle in NYC… ehh, not the life for me, but a good life for many many people around me.
One day, because we all took paycuts to help the company through a rough spot, the VP gave me the chance to go anywhere I wanted (within reason) on his time share account. I randomly chose Cabo San Lucas.
Now, a lot of eye opening synchronicities happened there ￼ but for the sake of this post I’ll focus on the most profound and that was….. the fact that there were so many Americans living it up on the beach down there, full time! They were selling timeshares or running restaurants and all I could think was “What the heck am I doing going back to NYC to sit in a cubicle, while these people get to go to the beach every day? This is not fair.”
Up until that point, I had always questioned the absurdity of working all day just to pay for a place to sleep at night, but I had never seen an example of people enjoying their work and being able to take time for themselves (OK NYers do have a more than average, strong, work ethic but still).
When I got back to NYC I paged ahead a year on my desk calendar and drew a large red ? on it. If I was still sitting in this chair when that day came I would be very upset with myself. Unfortunately I was still sitting there, but that big red ? pushed me to quit, pursue writing, move to LA, and grab some of the fun these other people were having.
Sometimes all you need is an example, a role model who already thinks outside of the box….
Who is your role model?
If you don’t have one, FIND ONE!
Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Whether you’re a writer now or you long to be one, creativity isn’t something that’s always easy to wrangle. You’re heard the stories about writer’s block and you know that some writers are good, but never quite great. The most difficult experience for any writer – new or not so new – is the experience of getting into a rut. When you begin to write the same things over and over, or you just begin to feel like your creativity isn’t flowing the way it used to, it’s time to take action.[more…]
Get Out of the House
Writing is so often a solitary practice, one in which you sit at a computer screen and try to come up with new ideas. But since your computer isn’t going to help you with these new thoughts, it’s time to get out of the house. You need to get out and experience life in order to write about it. Whether this means you head out for a coffee at a local café or you go to the park for a walk, you need to make sure you get out and experience life more often than you are doing right now. When you begin to interact with the outside world, you will begin to see things that will inspire you.
Change Your Routine
Many times, just being in a routine can cause you to feel like you’re in a rut. Maybe you’re a person who writes in the morning or a person who writes late at night – try changing that up for a week. When you do this, you will find you’re able to create from a different perspective, and with a different energy. Though you might not keep this new schedule up forever, sometimes just doing something that you wouldn’t normally do will give you the energy to write things that you wouldn’t normally write.
When all else fails, the best plan of action to get out of a creative rut is to write anyway. Even when you think your words have no meaning and they’re only causing you frustration, write anyway. Write for ten minutes, twenty minutes, or for an hour, without stopping. Don’t judge what you’ve written, don’t even go back to read it. Just write. The more you write past the point of being frustrated and bored with the process, the more you will push past any mental blocks that might be causing your rut.
Another great way to break out of a creative rut is to read books and poems from those who inspire you. When you begin to look at the creative results of writing, you can begin to want to pick up the pen or the laptop again. Head to poetry readings, writing conferences, etc. Surround yourself with others who are creating, and you’ll reconnect with your muse again.
Writing is something that allows you to be creative, and yet, everyone gets into a rut sometimes. You will too, but you don’t have to stay there for long.
It’s hard to pursue publication and success, especially in a creative field, if you don’t feel worthy of succeeding.
Do you have thoughts floating around the back of you head that you aren’t good enough? That you will never be successful at this? That it is all a waste of time? That the odds are against you? That maybe you could sell a few books but a 100,000 seems impossible? Do you tell yourself you can do it, yet deep down you know you are lying to yourself?[more…]
If you’re not sure, then try this: set a timer to go off every 60 minutes and just record what you were thinking at that time. You’ll be amazed when you start to see a pattern emerge…. is it a good pattern?
You have to believe in yourself, this is not just about saying affirmations mind you, this is about BELIEVING in yourself and what your thoughts tell you, you can accomplish. Explore it and see what happens.
Thanks for all your great responses to last blog’s question (both privately and on the blog). I’m glad to know many of you are interested in the creative process!
Ever heard of the Pareto Principle? It explains how successful results come from 20% of your hard work and the other 80% is just wasted effort. In business this is a well known principle and has been proven true time and time again. [more…]As writers I think we can all relate to this principle whether it’s wasting time on chores that don’t really need to get done or wasting 80% on starting numerous writing projects without getting any of them completed. Boy if we could just focus on that 20% all the time how wonderful that would be!
The question is – “How do you know what the 20% is that will get you results without having to waste the other 80% to get there?”
Calm your mind. Pure and simple. When you are calm you develop 20/20 vision and can see which actions will give you that 20%.You can calm your mind before you decide what needs to be done in a day, or which projects to work on, with meditation, deep breathing, soft music or any number of calming activities you enjoy. In one sense Julia Cameron’s daily pages serves to accomplish this task, I know many of you love to write daily pages and swear by them.
Just a thought. Being more productive with your time will help you get those projects completed.
In my experience, there is only one thing that holds writers back. That’s it. Just one measily little thing.
– lack of time
– lack of drive
– cramped writing space
– absense of support from others
– poor schooling
– the day job
Those things can deter us and keep us from working at our best. They can certaintly hinder us and keep us from writing 10 books a year as many of us seem to have so many ideas to get down! But they do not hold us back.
What holds us back is DOUBT pure and simple. “Doubt is what keeps one from taking action” as Dr. Masters says. If you are not living up to your goals and finishing projects, even if it takes years, take a look and see if doubt is at the core of what’s hindering you. Explore why you might have doubts about your work? Where do those doubts come from? How did you get them? Can you let them go? Can you work in spite of them?
How do you overcome doubt?
As you go about writing your ‘idea’ don’t think of it as your idea but instead think of it as your muse’s idea. Know that s/he will follow up with all the subsequent ideas need to bring a piece to completion. That s/he believes in it and in you or s/he never would’ve inspired you in the first place. Know that as far as s/he is concerned, that idea is already completed and s/he’s just waiting for you to write it down.
If you don’t have any doubt about yourself, your ability, or your project then there really is nothing to hinder you from finishing it – even if you don’t have tons of time and the perfect conditions to write. You just won’t feel you need those things all that much.