Last week I shared real-life distractions blocking my creative pathway, even amid true inspiration. My readers delivered with caring advice, either through comments or private messages, and I am grateful. A few small suggestions helped me to make some slight alterations to my writing routine, which made all the difference.
As a reference, please take a peek back at last week’s post: https://stepsinbetween.com/2020/06/21/creatively-crunched/
For starters, I took some time off to let things be. The permission to rest was good medicine. Then I began working on my writing in a different space (as recommended). I temporarily set up office in a new room. A different location, but also a different head-space. A forgiving one. When my mind felt overwhelmed, I simply took a step back. I made time for self-care, which for me looked like extra Pilates time, or even lazily watching a TV movie.
Whenever the world’s distractions wriggled their way in, I tried not to worry about the writing I wasn’t completing, and instead went on a walk around a new block (another piece of advice). I changed direction. Just this small change in my walking habit caused me to notice different scenery, different flowers, and different cracks in the sidewalk. I looked, with new eyes, at the same sunset from a different viewpoint. I let a fresh burst of birdsong carry me away instead of guiltily rushing back to my work. And I felt rejuvenated. My world (internally and externally) was the same, yet from a different perspective.
Changing just a bit of my routine here and there helped me to move through the unease of the world and my tightly woven schedule. It allowed me a fresh breath.
The world is the same world, with the same needed COVID-healing, the same needed anti-racial changes transpiring. Meanwhile, a timeclock ticks away in the back of my mind, pushing me onward to face my fears. The fact is, I have demands and deadlines. Simultaneous with the world’s concerns, I am always busy. Always being busy takes its toll. So, what I’ve learned this past week, thanks to readers like Will Pennington, Ancient Skies, and Tamara Miles (along with some privately sent pearls of wisdom), when life gets overwhelming, think self-care, and step away in a new way.
Blending these ideas has worked wonders for me!
I have always been one to take walks. It’s one of the ways I take care of myself. Walking allows me to process the stories I’m working on. It’s where I listen to podcasts about writing to improve my craft. It’s something I am already good at. Although this past week, as suggested by my amazing readers, I took my walks in a new way. I walked in new directions, down new paths, causing a slightly different vantage.
I think that’s my key take-away from recognizing this creative slump; when something isn’t working, simply tweak one small aspect in something you already do. Take a right instead of a left. Move at a different time of day. Just a slightly altered view of a familiar situation can create space for bigger change.
Any readers feeling creatively challenged? Take heed in the advice I received this week. Allow permission to rest a beat. Practice some self-care. Change course, just a bit.
A few suggestions (from supportive readers):
- Take a bath instead of a shower (or vice versa)
- Drink tea instead of coffee (or vice versa)
- Write outside in the fresh air (with bantering squirrels and birdsong)
- Try Yoga or Pilates or some other kind of exercise (do it at a different time of day)
- Call a friend and share what’s on your mind (get it off your shoulders)
- Turn left instead of right on a typical walk, run, or leisurely drive
- Write in a different room
- Write at a different time of day
- Play background music while you write (I think wordless movie scores are the best)
- Make a list of nagging to-dos to get them out of your head
- Plant a flower
- Sing or paint or craft in a new medium
- Take Action: Make a list of reflective ways to help the wavering world, get to work checking them off…
- Check in with a nursing home to find out what patients might need, maybe send a hand-written card
- Clean out a closet and donate to foster care, a homeless shelter, food-banks…
- Call someone just to say hello
- Make a gratitude list (being thankful is the opposite of worry or dread)
- Donate to a cause (anti-racial organizations need support right now)
- I’ve chosen The Black Star Project and Black Girls Break Bread to help with current issues but follow your heart.
- I also support the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, Mary’s Place, United Way, and KLOVE Radio. Again, follow your heart.
- OTHER…share in the comments below any tiny tweaks you can make in your daily habits or examples of self-care to help push through crunched creativity
Readers, I’ve recently felt in a creative slump, even amid a head full of ideas. My feelings came on unexpectedly, however I am relieved I journaled my situation here on Steps In Between because I am feeling even more empowered with the advice I’ve learned and put into action from my amazing readers.
My favorites: Do something routine in a slightly different way and take action.
My hope for readers feeling crunched in creativity: Choose something from the list above and watch creativity find its way back! Let me know if any of these suggestions work in the comments below, and/or let me know if you have even MORE ideas to share with other creators.
Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing),
Celaine Charles, June 28, 2020
Content and Photo Credit:
iPhone Photos (CC’s nature pictures from her new walk)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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