Creativity challenges: the best laid plans

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Permalink

I’ve been spending WAAAAY too much time lolling on my bed looking at Instagram pictures of Harry and Meghan (on their recent visit to Oz) and clicking on Facebook links to articles on No Sidebar, Tiny Buddha and Mark Manson.

The latter sites tend to re-share the same pieces over and over again. I know this because I tend to click on the same links over and over again.

“Oh yes,” I think, “tell me how to declutter my mind”. Or “Confirm for me, why I should give no fucks.”

But I’m a sucker for stuff on creativity: given my desire to be so is constantly thwarted by my apathetic nature.

A favourite (and I can’t remember where I read it) talked about the whole limited headspace thing I often blither on about. The fact that there needs to be whitespace in our lives which allows our creativity to bubble through. Like a plughole regurgitating soapy bathwater. Or something.

The example in the article talks about limiting time on other websites, social media and so forth and the author found it meant that their creative juices were titillated and they were off and running. On whatever it was they wanted to do.

creativity challenges

Given the aforementioned lolling about and having accidentally added something to my phone which told me how long I spend on social networking vs productivity I decided this was probably a very timely re-read.

I decided:

  1. I’d limit social media use to my desktop computer, so take everything (but Facebook messenger cos I use it instead of email / text messaging for friends) off my mobile device(s).
  2. Reduce my reading for one week. I had two reviews to finish but after that, I figured if I did no more reading I’d have no book reviews to do.

I didn’t read on my holiday and I’d taken a bit of a break from book blogging earlier this year and both times it resulted in more ‘other’ blog posts.

Words and ideas were itching to get out.

And I thought the same thing would happen this time.

Of course the main thing I wanted to do was to clear my plate (and mind) before 1st November (ahem, today) to start NaNoWriMo. I’ve talked about this before and lots of other bloggers and writers talk about it as well.

And it started well. The first night I had a brainwave for either a feature piece (attempting my hand at freelancing – writing and getting paid for it!) or an ebook for my blog, around a theme or two.

However…. three full days have now passed and I’ve actually not done more writing. This blog post is being written out of desperation the night before it’s due to be published cos I can’t think of anything else to write (it was either this or something about Dr Who).

I’m feeling far from creative. In fact I’m feeling flat.

So perhaps my plan – detoxing my mind of other creative stuff to refocus any creativity I might have – might have failed! I told myself I’d give it a week, so, there’s still time…

Have you attempted any ‘challenges’ that haven’t given you the results you hoped for? (Also, should I hang in there for the next 3-4 days or just pick up a bloody book and start reading?) 

The Lovin’ Life team includes:

19 Comments
  • Vanessa
    November 1, 2018

    I had my annual “crap it’s Nov 1st am I doing NaNo” moment this morning. As usual, I will start writing something random and just see how far I get.

    I know challenges and stuff are popular but I think most are kind of crap and assume you have a MUCH higher level of investment in them than reality.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2018

      The only time I’ve ‘won’ NaNo I’ve been super organised….. Alas.

  • writeofthemiddle
    November 1, 2018

    I couldn’t live without Instagram on my phone or as you say FB messenger cos I use it instead of texting or emailing a lot too! I think rather than limiting access on devices, maybe plan your days for certain activities, eg Monday for cleaning/housework, Tuesday for writing, Wednesday for reading, blah blah etc etc. Maybe not always whole days – you could split days for activities etc. Sometimes I find this helps me to stop jumping from one thing to another, getting stuck down rabbit holes, and basically achieving nothing. When I want to write, I keep Facebook etc closed so I’m not distracted. Good luck with the NaNoWriMo! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      I think I just do better with routine Min and suspect it’s a matter of getting into one. At the moment I feel really unsettled and think if I can get into some habits (writing first thing in the morning used to work for me, for eg) it’ll be okay. (I just need to force myself into those habits!)

  • Jo Tracey
    November 1, 2018

    Lol…. just pick up a book already! Seriously though I’ve done nothing creative this week (rarely do when I’m in Sydney) so will be starting nano at the airport tonight.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      Yes, I think I’ll ‘shelve’ the no-reading thing from today and read a bloody book. I’ll try to avoid the social networking on my devices thing until Sunday if I can! *gulp* (I’m trying to think about all of the food / dinner pics I’m saving people from!)

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    November 1, 2018

    I kept up my gratitude journal for the grand total of 4 weeks…. Adding my second attempt to my list of ‘to-dos’ for next year.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      Four weeks is pretty good. Interestingly I got a 5yr diary thing from a friend last year and I’ve actually kept it up to date. It only requires a response to a question each day. (Of course I should admit I sometimes do several days at once if they aren’t asking about a specific event that day!)

  • leannelc
    November 1, 2018

    I don’t have IG (I’m not going down that rabbit hole) but I must confess to spending way too much time on the Mad About Meghan website because her coverage of the tour has been amazing (and I love the comments). I’ve been feeling a bit dry blogwise too and I’ve decided to pare it right back – there’s a post on that next week. I actually feel lighter from making the decision – I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves about stuff nobody else really cares about. I hope your Muse re-visits soon xx

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      Oh, I’ll await your post next week Leanne! And I was bizarrely addicted to Instagram for royal visit pics and I’m so not a monarchist. I didn’t even bother watching their wedding. But guess it gets a bit addictive when you’ve seen a bit… you wonder what ‘she’ will wear next. (Or I tend to worry about us as hosts and hoping things go well. Plus they visited Fraser Island and my hometown of Hervey Bay. A friend went and saw them and was suitably impressed!)

  • Virtually All Sorts (@AllSortsHere)
    November 1, 2018

    I’ve done challenges and not found the time to do them properly. Yes, just read thr book!!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      Yes, I’m gonna pick up a book today I think…. not sure what I was thinking!

  • Natalie
    November 2, 2018

    Just pick up a good book and start reading. If no new ideas come, it’s still time well spent. #teamlovinlife

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      That’s a very good point Natalie. I’m not achieving anything anyway, so I might as well use the time doing something I enjoy!

  • Jodie
    November 2, 2018

    I feel like the more I create time for being creative, the less it happens. To me it’s always feast or famine…
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      That might be the case Jodie. I know when I’m manically writing a zillion book reviews I tend to do more blog posts in general. I suspect I’m still just trying to settle into a new pattern.

  • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
    November 2, 2018

    Ah the rabbit hole of social media! I get sucked in by Instagram a fair bit but I don’t have FB on my phone. Now though, I also get sucked in reading articles on Pocket. Sometimes with creativity, I know free writing helps. Having said that, I’m going through a block myself and haven’t tried free writing {makes mental note to find time to do that!}

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2018

      Usually if I get started I’m fine, but for reasons unknown I struggle to even sit at my desk and start. I want to do NaNoWriMo though so really need to knuckle down. As I’m not working I really have no excuse for not getting 50,000 words written this month!

  • BoomingOn
    November 4, 2018

    It’s a bloody challenge. I hear you about too much social media and trawling – such a waste of time. I do find having very clear short term goals works for me, and deadlines are brilliant – as you mentioned, especially when a routine has been removed. Part of being able to achieve more/write more/be more creative first starts with the awareness and starting to do something about it. Keep going! I’m doing the same.

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