In our last blog, on 13 Sparks for Creativity, I talked about the right brain needing time for free-flow thought. To give that right brain the time that it needs, you need to keep your left brain engaged in other tasks.
The whole purpose is to let your finished project have some “sleep” so you return to it refreshed, creativity ready to be sparked
Remember, there’s a difference between a finished project and a completed one. We can’t complete a project unless it has had its winter sleep.
While It Sleeps
Creativity relies upon the suppression of the active Left Brain in order to let the subconscious Right Brain speak to us, through symbols, images.
As you can engage in the thirteen exercises as daily activities, one a day over two weeks, you also need to look for other things to do to keep your hands off the project you are letting sleep.
On farms, winter is the season used as preparation for the approaching growing season. Farmers look over their fences and barns and sheds, over their equipment and their records of previous years, and over their livestock and seed hoards during the cold months when the Earth is dormant.
They are engaged in repairs, restocking, and re-considering. What should we writers do while our projects are sleeping?
Look for a project that you abandoned because it wasn’t quite working. Re-acquaint yourself with that project’s concept then work through a mind-map or collage ora similar creative tool. This is in addition to the other creative activity you are doing on that day.
The season of sleep for this abandoned project may have given your subconscious time to work out the corner you wrote yourself into.
Did it have a Damocles’ sword hanging over it, something that distracted you from the project’s fruition so that you just could not focus on where you were in the project? Perhaps after that season of sleep, you can discern exactly the sword of Damocles that interfered with your project’s completion. You must do that analysis in order to determine what cut through your focus by dangling overhead.
Or pick up the next project you’re contemplating. Do its research. Determine the lodestone that will keep you returning as it develops from planting to growing to harvest.
While pursuing a project’s completion, we all have a stray idea or two or three that wanders through our minds. We make a note of it then continue on with our
Many writers keep an ideas journal. In down-times I peruse it. What can I use now? What can still wait? Which idea’s time has come?
During the project’s dormancy, return to those stray ideas and give them a home.
Which ideas spark more and start to develop into a story?
Which ideas still must wait?
Which idea’s time has come to turn into a project?
Sketch out a chosen few of these ideas or even take them to the outline step. Map out their start to finish, then decide how to fit them into your schedule of upcoming projects. Those newly-homed strays are not yet a project, however. Set them aside. The time for their planting will come.
During the primary project’s Winter, take a look at this writing business you are pursuing. It is a business, right? No longer a hobby or escape, but something you are pursuing for income?
Is the business seeing growth? Or do you seem to be digging into the same infertile ground?
TRACK the $$
Do a cost analysis. You should see a return on the money you’ve put into the business. If you’re not earning (making a little more year to year), what do you need to change? Marketing? More blogging? More freelance work?
Were you profligate with your writing expenses? Where did you waste $$? I cannot resist charming little journals. Yes, I am a paper nut, for I have over a dozen now with no immediate opportunity for their use. I am a pen nut, too.
Our profligate expenses may be in paying others to do things that we could have figured out on our own. However, sometimes it behooves us to pay others to do those things IF we spend that time saved in writing. If that time saved was not put to writing . . . well, what a waste.
TRACK the DAYS
Count the days during the year when you actually wrote, and analyze what happened on your unfruitful days. What time did you waste?
Another time-expense occurs with our relationships. We do need to devote time (and money) to family and friends. Humans are social creatures. Just look at the most introverted people you know when they are placed with people they love, talking about something they feel in their heart: they become gregarious.
Driving to and from major family gatherings is not a waste of time. For these gatherings, if you feel you must write, you can always dictate into your phone. If you’re with others while driving and can’t dictate and can’t write in the backseat because you’re the driver, how can you use this time? Talk to them about movies: the characters, the plot, the setting. You are getting a layman’s view of story. A truly helpful passenger will write down anything you dictate . . . and could brainstorm ideas as well.
TRACK your ENERGY
Time and Money are not the only elements of your Cost Analysis. Are you properly using your writing energies? Refer back to the “Writer’s Block” blogs, specifically in the area of Writer’s Inertia.