Whether I’m wrestling with two crazy boys, or conquering mountains of laundry, sweeping up the crumbs that magically appear on a hardwood floor, emptying the dishwasher, picking up toys, or discovering strange fragments of food stuck in the most unique place. Whether I’m rushing out the door, stuck in traffic, or work meetings, and keeping up with yard work — going from one event to the next… Does that describe you? You see, dear reader, here is a truth: We live crazy lives. That is the life of a Creative. It doesn’t matter if you write full time or part time, life presents challenges.
So how do we do it? That’s the question so many ask. How do we stay creative in a creative draining world? There are people who spend thousands buying books, going to conferences, paying hundreds for pointless webinars all in the name of trying to make their life less busy. In the end, I’ve discovered there is no one way approach. Everyone is different.
Everyone has different obstacles, monsters, and dragons to conquer. None of us storms the same castle.
It’s an unpleasant fact. Therefore, what I share today, I hope are nothing more than helpful hints.
This is how I stay creative in a creative draining world.
1. Identify Distractions & Eliminate Them
I love sports. For years, college football (Boomer Sooner!) and New York Yankees Baseball were my life. I would spend countless hours during the week and on Saturdays glued to the games. Eventually I had to stop. I was wasting so much time. So find your biggest distraction, and get rid of it.
2. Reward Yourself
I love comic books and binge-watching shows on Netflix. However, if I’m not careful they can become a distraction. So I have a rule – if I don’t write at least 500 words a day, I don’t let myself do those things. So find something you enjoy- and use it as a reward.
3. Stay Healthy – Physically & Spiritually
I can’t stress this enough. I don’t mean you have to look like Tony Horton or have the theological knowledge of Spurgeon, but try to be in the word, cautious of what you eat, and try to exercise either daily or three times a week. I’ll be honest – I fail at this most. I love food (and I love my superhero donuts), but it also makes me sluggish, tired, and cranky. So stay healthy- it will help.
4. Learn to Plan Ahead
I’m a Discovery Writer by nature. However, with two kids, an amazing wife, a full time job, church, etc., I’ve had to learn how to become a planner. There are tons of methods to plan a story. I use Susan May Warren’s Story Equation – it works for me. So find a method and master it. It will help you create faster.
5. Create In Chunks
I don’t have large blocks of time. So, I’ve had to learn to write in chunks. I set a timer for ten minutes and I write as fast as I can in those ten minutes. Trust me, the words are horrendous. But they are on a page. Remember- the first step to publication is finishing. I try to hit six 10-minute chunks a day. That’s a full hour of writing! And I get more words out then I would had I just blocked a full hour.
6. Find a Master Mind Group
This has been the biggest benefit so far. I have a Master Mind group. We are new. But I think it’s working. We have a private Facebook group where we bounce ideas around, do writing sprints, and share blog post we found helpful. We also meet on the first Monday of every month via Google Hangouts to talk about our writing, challenges, and goals. Having a small group of writers to discuss things with is huge and encouraging.
Again, these are just a few things I do to stay creative. They aren’t perfect- but they help.
J.J. Johnson loves comic books, coffee, and writing Science Fiction / Horror Stories. During the day he serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Globe Marketing Services in Oklahoma City. He and his Certified Chef wife Ashley live in Edmond Oklahoma with their two rambunctious boys. You can visit his website at jjjohnsonwrites.com , and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.