The disciplined creative

One of the things that I think is severely underestimated is the need for discipline in creative pursuits.

We’re bombarded with ideas and imagery of the wild artist. The creative that is awoken from slumber with their great idea. The writers block or creative block that results in nothing being produced for days, weeks or months. Then suddenly they’re almost possessed by the desire to create.

I think we separate the idea of being disciplined because it seems so in contrast to the idea of creativity.

But furthermore because we often look at creativity as a natural thing that just comes to you instead if being something you have to work at.

Time, dedication and discipline of a creative pursuit isn’t always appealing but it’s necessary.

Enjoy the moment

If you’re someone that writes you might find that you rarely allow yourself to just be in the moment. The most wonderful thing could be happening but your mind is already looking back on it or thinking about how best to capture it.

Instead of just being in the moment, you’re observing it so that when it comes to writing about it you have all the details.

In some ways it could be considered a good thing.

But when you’re in an experience and you have the intentions of writing about it, you might find that you change your behaviour.

You end up saying or doing things to suit the narrative of what you want to write.

In turn you don’t allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.

Sometimes you need to decide to put the writing aside and just enjoy the moment.

Feedback and praise

I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.

Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.

Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.

It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.

Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.

This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.

You don’t need more information

You buy more books, attend more events and enroll on more courses.

You think these things will give you the necessary knowledge and tools to pursue the thing you’re interested in.

But how much is too much?

When will you stop gathering information and just start?

We’re often relunctant to accept that we’re ready to jump in and really do the work. Instead we hide behind this great online course that will teach us what we need to know. You probably tell yourself, you’ll start once the course is done.

But then you just end up finding something else to distract yourself.

Of course, there’s no point starting something if you have no knowledge of what you’re trying to purse. But it gets to a point where you’re better off starting with some knowledge and learning along the way than simply consuming more information.

Daily blogging vs Journalling

I recently found myself journalling. It’s something I did consistently for almost a decade.

I stopped keeping a regular journal because it no longer served the purpose in my life that it did when I first started. These days I journal maybe once or twice a month. Sometimes just to let out frustration or get some thoughts out about whatever is on my mind.

Sometimes I think that this site is like my journal because I’m writing about my life and my experiences. But the biggest differences with this blog and my journal are how much effort I put in and my end goal.

My journal isn’t something I put effort into (in the sense that it’s more of a brain dump and not written for an audience) and it has no end goal other than serving as a release.

This blog on the other hand is a real passion project and from around 6 months in I started making plans for the future.

The worst possible thing

What do you do when the worst possible thing happens.

And by worst possible thing I mean something unanticipated, something that you didn’t plan for that throws you off course.

The common and perhaps most easiest way to react is panic.

Like a sort of ‘Oh my goodness, what I am I gonna do, everything is going wrong, this has gotta be liek the worst possible thing, what am I gonna do now?’

Turns out the popular and easy reaction isn’t particularly helpful.

Instead my experience has taught me that the much more useful thing to is think. Go through the possible scenarios and come up with a solution. Once you’re able to remove some of uncertainty suddenly the worst possible thing isn’t so bad.

Granted you can’t control how things will turn out. However, what you can do is remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming the unexpected.

Daily blogging for the reader

I think it’s fair to say that more often than not, a daily blog is for the writer.

The reason behind this is almost nobody reads a daily blog every single day.

There are occasional readers and regular readers but it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t miss a post.

Posting so often allows me to not put so much pressure on each thing I share, it also forces me to challenge myself.

I have posts that have never been read, perhaps the title wasn’t interesting enough or maybe you just weren’t interested. But from a totally different perspective, I posted another day and kept up my writing practice.

That matters to me more than trying to please the reader.

Writing for the reader

I was recently asked about whether I write for myself or for readers.

It’s something I think about every now and then but it was interesting to be asked.

On one hand I write for myself because I love it but on the other hand I write for my readers too.

I’m thoughtful about what I share and my intention is to always add value in some way.

I don’t expect anyone to read every single post I write but for the posts you do read I’d like it to feel like time well spent.

Whether it’s 100 words on friendship, career development or overcoming fear, I do my best to add some kind of takeaway.

Feeling difficult feelings

When you feel low or sad about something it can be difficult to know what t do with the feeling. After all you don’t want to feel it, you’d much rather the sadness just left you alone.

But the thing with difficult feelings and feelings in general is that they don’t leave if you don’t allow yourself to feel them.

And then there is the question of how do you feel your feelings.

I don’t think there is a set answer of how but I’ll share what works for me.

Writing is incredibly therapeutic, I do it everyday.

Writing allows you to explore yourself freely and can be used as a tool to express how you feel. If you’re feeling hurt you can write about it. But you can also ask yourself questions like ‘why does this bother me?’ or ‘what would make me feel better right now?’ and then write until you have some kind of answer or at least until your mood has shifted.

Doing it wrong

If I aksed someone for advice on how to make this site better, I have a pretty good idea of what they would say.

The first thing is that I should use pictures to accompany my posts as a way to draw in readers.

The second is that I should promote my content on social media to put my stuff out there to a wider audience, not just fellow WordPress users.

To some the way I have chosen to run this site might mean that I am doing it wrong but in the 18 months since I started, I’m really pleased with what I have created.

The goal for me is to never reach the most amount of people or have the biggest audience. Those things won’t make me a better a writer or make me more committed to posting everyday.

When it comes to using pictures, if I have to post an image to get someone to read just over 100 words (the length of most of my posts) then that’s not the kind of reader I want. When it comes to social media although I have an Instagram account for this site my main focus will always be the daily blog posts and right now the extra effort it would take to promote on Instagram isn’t worth it.

And so sometimes you have to realise that what might be right for others is wrong for you and what is wrong for others might be exactly what you need to be doing.