Freelance Writing

Reader Q’s: 3 Actions for Staying Creative When Life Sucks a Fat One

This post is dedicated to one of my most favorite-ist (yep, that’s a word) people ever, Erica, also known as the “Ducky.” She told me:

“I have trouble focusing on my work and keeping my creative stores full when there’s something personal going on.”

This is a really common problem. It’s one I’ve had to deal with twice now in the past several months.  I had a family emergency late last year and last week my grandmother died. Not only did these throw me into a mental tailspin, I had to physically pull myself away from my business in order to deal with these issues.

Other than totally taking a break, which is what I’ve done several times, here are a few other methods to keep your coffers full when everything drains you.

1) Focus on a different passion: This tip comes from the one, the only, the astounding, Dana Sitar from DIY Writing/A Writer’s Bucket List. One of her bucket-kickers is to work on something else you love for a while. For me, that’s gaming and personal blogging (along with Facebooking, but I don’t want to reveal my addic…oops).

What other passions do you have? Ask yourself this:

  • What do you have the worst time pulling yourself away from? Reading? Web surfing? Clearly, these two answers alone are worth doing, because it refills your creative cup. Any activity that requires some brain power (heck, even knitting) can be a huge creative release.

2) Do one simple thing (as in less than 1-2 minutes) to clear your head. A lot of people like meditation and prayer. I like deep breathing as well.

A quick e-mail or text to a friend or colleague can also be really powerful.

3) Store up, steal and serve. (Yes, I’m advocating stealing from other people.) The good thing about taking a break is your e-mail newsletters and other things (Favorited tweets, Facebook/Google + group messages) pile up.

You read that correctly. I said it’s a “good thing.” Yes, it’s a pain to look at your inbox and see 97 unread email newsletters. You’ve already culled the herd and unsubscribed from the ones you don’t need, and yet, there they are. I’m in the middle of this situation right now.

Overwhelming? Absolutely. But it’s the most powerful way to gain creativity. Email newsletters become perfectly curated social media posts, group messages become new leads or assistance. And, yes, emails like the one Erica sent me can be transformed into fancy, new blog posts.

I talk about ways to handle depression and anxiety in my first freebie, which I’m releasing at the end of the month. The best way to find out more is to subscribe!

The best part about all of this is your clients and followers completely understand. Life happens, and when you are a solopreneur, it’s best to take on business matters one mouse click at a time.

What are your methods for gaining creativity during a dry spell? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like fabulous blog posts like this for your company, hire me.

10 thoughts on “Reader Q’s: 3 Actions for Staying Creative When Life Sucks a Fat One

  1. I’ve always had this weird habit of writing down great ideas before they leave my head. If I have to do something like write a blog post I’ll wait until the last minute to do it.

    Jotting those crazy thoughts that pop in my head has saved my booty on numerous days when I wasn’t “feelin’ it” I can just look through the bazillion ideas pick the one that feels good and do it.

  2. Along the same lines as Kim, only I put it in an online, never-ending draft in my posts page. When I need an idea, I go there and look through all the little snippets. (Goddess help me if I ever accidentally publish it! It looks like the mish-mash of a six-grader struggling with concepts.)

    Or I use a composition-style notebook. As long as I don’t misplace the darn thing, I’ve pages and pages of ideas.

    As Churchill said, though, “Success is not final… Failure is not fatal… it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

  3. Love this, Williesha! I have a huge notebook full of ideas, plus Evernote too, so for me the problem isn’t so much staying creative as it is finding time to follow through on the ideas and actually write them up! And when life hits those rough patches it seems even harder to do. I suppose that’s where goal setting and willpower come in? Or maybe just hiring you to do it 😉

    1. That is true, Andi. I have a bajillion resources that I have yet to use. Haha yes – somehow I manage to organize my client’s life but have a hard time with my own sometimes. 🙂

  4. What a great post, Williesha. And thank you for the kind words.

    I love what you said about focusing on something else you love for a while. There were a couple of months during which my brain couldn’t find enough focus to read; a major red flag for me. So I’ve been purposefully spending more time reading than any sort of creative writing. Now it’s starting to come back.

    Also helpful, mind-mapping. Here’s a helpful post from Write to Done that explains it better than I can: http://writetodone.com/how-to-use-a-genius-tool-for-writers-mind-maps/

    1. Ooo, thanks Ducky! I have a mind mapping app, but in haven’t utilized in months! I recommend it. It was free for a time, and it may be offered for free again. It’s called “Big Mind.” Heading over to read the post!

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