A few days ago a reader wrote to me and asked if I'd write about a specific topic she was curious about. I thought it was a great question, so answer it I will.
"How do you manage to stay so creative, and constantly come up with new ideas to write about? How do you manage not to let your doubts and fears sabotage your creativity?"
First of all, thanks for the ego massage. It's nice to know you think I do manage to stay so creative. I certainly don't always feel it.
But seriously, this is a great question, so let's take it in two parts.
1. How do you manage to stay so creative, and constantly come up with new ideas to write about?
Six months ago, the idea of writing a blog post five days a week would have seemed absurd to me. So this is all still pretty new to me.
But, like I've written about several times now, I'm actually finding it much easier to write five times a week than I did to write once a week.
Like I wrote about in this post, I think part of the reason for that has to do with momentum. Writing every day means I'm constantly working the muscle. Before, I'd get lazy between blog posts and there'd be plenty more time for the doubt and procrastination to creep in.
Now, my commitment means I don't have time to think about it all too much. I just know I've gotta write. And the more I write, the easier it is.
As for how I come up with new ideas to write about, well, there are a couple of things.
First, I don't think I actually do come up with that many new ideas to write about. A lot of what I write about is centred around the same thing. But, because I most often use stories as a way to express or introduce an idea, there's always something fresh to bring to it.
Second, I just use whatever's there. You might have noticed I've been bringing lots of stories about kickboxing into my recent posts? That's because it's just what I'm living right now and new experiences always generate lots of ideas.
The more I go out and live my life, the more experiences I have to write about and the more ideas pop up.
Like I've also written about recently, I don't keep a running list of ideas for things to write about anymore. I've tried things like that in that past and it just hasn't worked for me.
An idea that felt full of energy and emotion at the time I came up with it always feels so empty by the time I return to it. So I just don't bother trying to hold on to ideas anymore.
2. How do you manage not to let your doubts and fears sabotage your creativity?
So there's a very simple answer to this.
I use my doubts and fears to fuel my creativity.
Generally speaking, I write about what's happening in the here and now. When you're willing to show up and share whatever's going on for you - whether that's something really powerful or you're going through some serious doubt - you don't need to worry about it sabotaging your creativity. It just becomes something else to write about.
Sometimes I forget and I wake up and think I've got nothing to write about. That I'm not feeling in the zone or whatever. And then I REMEMBER - oh, just write about THAT then.
And I really like writing in that way - sharing whatever's there - because by the time I've finished writing about it I also feel better. There's something about using my doubt and fear to create something that might actually help someone that day that feels really good. And it allows me to get out of my own terrible wallowing in it all.
So, if you want to get creative, stay creative, never run out of ideas and not let doubt get in the way, this is what I'd say:
- Commit to working the muscle as often as possible.
- Get out and live your life - you'll never be short of stories or ideas to write about.
- Use the doubt and fear fuel to your creativity. Just write about whatever's there.
Love and courage,