How happy are you with your creative writing right now?
If a rating of 100 was “I’m writing the most amazing, rich and deep creative work I’m capable of” and a rating of 0 was “I’m not even writing”, where would you be right now on that scale?
If you rated yourself around 80 or above, congratulations, that’s fantastic! You’ve obviously found the methods, routines and techniques that are working incredibly well for you as a writer.
If, like the vast majority, your rating was much lower, then obviously you’re aware there must be a number of factors that are preventing you from being the best creative writer you can be.
So here are 5 of the most common reasons why you never really get going with YOUR creative writing, and what you can do instead:
1. You feel you don’t have enough time. You don’t write very often, and when you do it’s only a snatched few minutes here and there. You don’t have a chance to get going, to build momentum. There’s always something “more important” demanding your attention.
What you can do – Set aside a fixed period to create in every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Get up earlier, go to bed later, borrow the time from somewhere, make it a priority. Stick to it the same time everyday and within a couple of weeks you’ll notice the difference in your creative writing.
2. You lack the confidence in your creativity. You don’t believe you ever write anything that’s any good or worthwhile. You feel “what’s the point of writing if I never come up with anything good?”
What you can do – Build your confidence by starting with small projects. Pick a simple form like a short article or poem and just experiment writing with different approaches. Detach yourself from the outcome of the “finished product”. Just write to enjoy the experience of writing.
3. You struggle to focus on one project. You always have about 17 projects at various stages of completion. Whenever you start working on one project, you come up with ideas for the others, and you feel bombarded with options and overwhelmed.
What you can do – Pick one project. Make it something quite small, something you can finish within a couple of hours. Put all the other projects away out of sight. The aim here is to practice seeing one project through to the end, and experience what that feels like.
4. You don’t think you come up with enough good ideas. You often just sit staring blankly at a screen, wondering where on earth your next idea will ever come from. This makes you feel more and more anxious and to avoid this feeling, over time you’ve stopped even sitting down to write.
What you can do – Being open to ideas and to stimulation is a state of mind, something that anyone can develop. Take a notebook or sketchbook out to a new environment. Go through each of your 5 senses in turn and write down as much as you can about what you’re experiencing through that sense. This will enhance your sensory awareness, and ideas will flow more easily to you.
5. You feel a slave to procrastination. You never quite get around to writing, you always manage to find something else important to do. Like reorganising your bookshelf or cleaning the entire contents of your cutlery drawer.
What you can do – Set a short period of time to create every day, say 15 minutes. In this time, just write, forget about everything else. Just write what comes to you, whatever that may be. The more you practice just sitting down and going straight into writing – without finding an excuse not to – the easier it’ll get.
These are 5 of the top reasons why people struggle to be the wonderful creative writer they have the potential to be.
Which do you relate to most?
What actions can you start to take today to move your creative writing forward?