How to get 'unstuck'!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was in the middle of a creative confidence revival.
I was working on the blog, and had ideas a plenty. I even wrote about confidence and how to cultivate it here.
This was compounded by a creative writing course, which gave me the confidence to try new things and reignite the kids’ book I had begun writing last year. Starting the Miracle Morning was the icing on the cake – it focused my mind on my goals and got me striving to achieve.
I’m certain pregnancy hormones were making me super ambitious, but I wanted to get it all done before the baby arrived!
But then… just as I was getting into the swing of things, my confidence took a holiday.
Creative Confidence vs Ambition
Over the last few weeks my creative confidence has vanished!
I don’t know what to do first with my story; I don’t know what to blog about. No ideas. Nada.
It came to a bit of a head this week whilst trying to soldier on through.
I read a Q&A article from a mystery editor in How to Write a Children’s Book.
“You [need to] accept that writing for children is a profession. And like any profession, there is a learning period. There are writers who say, “I don’t want to be a professional writer, I just have this idea.” Screeeee! Just like anything else, you LEARN the profession before you begin practicing it. The slush pile is FULL of stories people jotted down on a whim without learning one iota about the biz.”
And then a little voice popped into my head saying You have no business even trying.
I know it’s just the voice that Mike says I should tell to f*ck off but I’m feeling low energy. I’m organising the local Fete, which is in 2 weeks, and the last-minute issues arising are going to be enough to make this baby come out looking like Benjamin Button! I think my resilience is low.
It is, of course, helpful to read feedback like this – I’m somewhat delusional thinking I could write a children’s book in 6 months, and potentially get it published. Nice to have an ambition, dream and goals but you do have to keep it real too!
Know that learning a new skill will take time and have an ambition in mind but don’t let it take over before you get started.
When Creative Confidence Stalls
I’ve got sucked into the mechanics of story-writing and publishing too soon (similar to what killed blogging for me). Rather than actually working on my imagination, getting to know my own creative patterns and generally having fun with it, I’m looking too far ahead.
Writing stories takes time and skills need to be developed. I’m so early in my journey that I got bogged down in the fact it will be a very long time before anything comes of it.
Do I have the passion to see it through?
I haven’t written anything for my book for AGES!
I’ve thought about HOW to do it: reading lots of books in my genre; studying the mechanics; and, obviously writing.
But, I haven’t actually done any writing for a week now.
I’m building it into too big a thing. I’m scared that my efforts will be for nothing. Really I need to JUST WRITE. As with everything, it takes practise and I have nothing to lose.
To quote an affirmation from Hal Elron…
Fear & worry are a misuse of my intelligence and imagination.
I will only think positive, self- affirming and confidence-inspiring thoughts.
If I am to use my imagination, I will only use it to imagine myself doing something great. Besides, there is nothing to fear or worry about, because
I cannot fail—only learn & grow.
Nurturing Creative Confidence
I think working on creativity, rather than the mechanics of writing a publishable story, is the right route for me at this early stage.
Creativity is an ugly little bird, with hardly any feathers. It needs nurturing and feeding up. When/if I get to a point where I feel that I’ve put enough of my time and heart into this not to give up, that’s when I can start working on the how bit.
This reminds me of when I turned my other hobby (blogging) into a job – it was too soon and over time I lost all the enthusiasm for my hobby and I struggled creatively as it moved from a want-to-do activity to a have-to-do one.
I tried to resuscitate that creativity by turning it back into a hobby but the little bird had died. And despite a 2 year gap, I’m still seriously struggling to find my little blogging blue bird, I believe he is there but he’s seriously battered and bruised.
When it comes to story-writing, this is a different bird altogether but it’s definitely small and ugly at the moment.
I need to write some shit stories, discover if this truly is my passion, and see if I can nurture my creativity bird long enough for it to grow some feathers and start to look presentable, more of an Eagle…or perhaps an Emu.
I imagine my story-writing creativity bird to be more amusing than majestic!
This little bird needs to grow big enough to withstand the pressures of the Biz. It needs to be strong enough to flap its funny, flightless wings, no matter what the feedback.
Creative Confidence – Practise
As I said in my confidence article back in April – the key to confidence is action. So with creative confidence, the key is practise – I need to write!
Mike used the analogy of running – you can read and read about running techniques or you can just go out and run. At the end of the 6 months, you can guarantee that the person whose approach was just to run will be quicker than the one who did the reading but didn’t run.
Too much information at the beginning can stop you ever starting. So just start!
“Like a muscle, your creative abilities will grow and strengthen with practice.”
― Tom Kelley,
My creative Writing class is perfect for this. The homework is all stuff I wouldn’t chose to do off my own back so it means I’m working creatively without taking anything too seriously. This is so important.
My baby Emu needs me to chill the hell out! Otherwise, like a real baby, it senses my agitation and starts to lose the plot too.
I also have a few great books about creativity, including The Creative Habit, which I’d started reading when I was first doing the Miracle Morning. I found the exercises at the end of each chapter really useful for flexing the old creativity muscles and learning about myself… but then I got sucked into the ‘making it big’ vortex.
I also might reread Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, as she has a great way of keeping things in perspective without killing your dreams!
Do you have a hobby you’d like to someday turn into a job? Or have you ever successfully turned a Hobby into a Job?
I’d love to hear what you think! Comment below or come and join the conversation over on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page.
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