Writing Motivation Mondays: The Tao of Creativity, Part One

Last month, I read Benjamin Hoff’s book, The Tao of Pooh, and realized many of the concepts and ideas presented could apply to us as writers and creative individuals.  So, after I was done, I went back through the book and pulled some insightful quotes to explore with you from the perspective of being a writer or other artist.  

Let’s get started!

Changing Perspective

Early on in the book, Hoff explains, “[T]hrough working in harmony with life’s circumstances, Taoist understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive” (6).  In a world where we are constantly bombarded by negativity, hate, and pessimism, it can be a chore to push all that aside, clear our heads, and dwell in a positive and healthy space that enables us to create.

But what if we used those horrible things to our advantage?  What if, instead of being a distraction, they were the reason we needed to escape and create?  What if we pushed them away and allowed ourselves several hours to write, draw, dance, sculpt, and do what we want to do for the joy of doing it? What if we allowed ourselves to create something good in the world?

The world and its events are ever-present, but you have the power in your personal space to do something for the good of yourself and the enjoyment of others.  When we doomscroll the headlines on our phones or listen to the news, it negatively impacts us whether we realize it or not.  

Allow yourself to break free from the world’s negativity and do something positive through your creativity. 

Is it Writer’s Block or Something Better?

In keeping with the theme of the quoted passage above, we can also look at writer’s block from a different perspective.  We usually consider it an evil force that prevents us from writing, but what if we considered it a challenge to overcome instead?

Writer’s block always has a root cause, and part of breaking through the block is discovering what that is.  So, instead of focusing on the negative, explore the positive aspects of writer’s block.  Yes, that’s right, the positiveaspects.

What is your writer’s block trying to tell you?  The easiest way to find out is to write about it.  Writing about the possible causes of your writer’s block can help you find perspective and hopefully assist in getting you through the block and back to your writing.

Is the block caused by fear?  Caused by a story problem?  Caused by outside forces?  How can you spin those into positive and productive actions that will get you back to writing?  

The key here isn’t to fight against writer’s block.  As the quote says, we want to be “working in harmony with life’s circumstances,” which means finding ways to positively address and overcome the block so you can move forward with your creative process.

Take the time to explore the possibilities and find a positive solution to the problem.  You’ll be back into your story in no time!

Final Thoughts

It can be tough to find the good and positive in the world today, but as creative people, we must take a step back and allow ourselves the ability and opportunity to do what we enjoy.  Turn the negative news into the motivation you need to escape into a positive and productive work environment.  Permit yourself to take a break from the real world and indulge in the creative process you need for your sanity and mental health.

By giving in to writer’s block and exploring its causes, you can begin to break through and get back to writing sooner.  Allow yourself to positively push back at this force of negativity, and see how quickly you can climb over this obstacle to creativity.

Happy Writing and Creating, and I’ll see you next time!

Writing Tip of the Week: Setting your 2022 Writing Goals – Part Two

Last time, we kicked off the final month of 2021 by exploring ways to set new writing goals in 2022.  Below are a few more ideas to get your head in the game this coming year.

Always Be Thinking

We are surrounded by people, places, and events that have the possibility of inspiring and evolving into stories.  As you go about your day, observe and later write down what you experienced that was noteworthy.  Did something happen to you at work or school that could be the basis of a storyline?  Did your kid say something funny that would work great in a script?

By being aware of the real world around us, we can create stronger and more grounded stories.   

Work To Write Every Day

To write more, write better, and write longer, you need to make it a habitual ritual in your daily routine.  Whether it’s for 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours, work to fit time into your daily schedule to write.  Even if you write about your day, an experience you had, or on your big writing project, you are still working to develop your skills as a writer.

Numerous websites offer hundreds of writing prompts that can help you focus on what to write if you need assistance.  The key is to commit to writing every day and stick to it.  With each daily writing session, you’ll be amazed at how your writing skills grow.

Here’s a link to an article featuring 100 creative writing prompts from Writer’s Digest.

Have Side Projects Just In Case

I always like to have another writing project or two on the side if I hit a brick wall with my current project.  The solution should never be closing the laptop and skimming through YouTube videos on your phone.  A more productive way to deal with this issue is to have another project you can focus on.

I prefer that the second project is in a different genre and even another medium.  For example, if I’m writing a novel that’s action-adventure, I’ll have a play that’s a comedy to work on as well.  This gives your brain a rest and can actually help you subconsciously resolve issues you’re having with the primary project as you work on the secondary one.

Stay Positive

You’re going to have tough writing days. You’re going to get writers’ block of some kind. You’re going to have personal things pop up that distract you.  But when you’re at the desk, the table, or wherever you write, you have to have a positive mindset.  You will get the writing done.  You will get something on the page.  Even if it’s not quality work, it; ’s still work you completed and can fix later.

Don’t get discouraged with the process.  If you have issues with a story, step back and figure out why.  Write down why you think the story or a character isn’t working (that still counts as writing).  

The key is to not allow negative self-talk and other internal forces to win the creative war.  Push yourself through the blocks, the doubt, and the problems, and you will come out the other side with work you can be proud of.

Stay Focused

It’s hard in 2021 – and soon 2022 – to disappear from the world and just focus on your writing.  It can be hard to shut the world out and focus with social media, the news, COVID, family, friends, work, and doom and gloom seemingly lurking around every corner.

I recommend finding a chaos-free zone where you have your phone off, your wi-fi off, and as few external distractions as possible when you sit down to write.  You can fact-check your story later if you need to.

This is your time to escape the real world and live in your fictional universe with your characters and story.  I can guarantee that you will not miss world peace being achieved or a cure for all illnesses being discovered while you’re hunkered down writing.

Give yourself the permission and the time to focus, and you will be glad you did.

Have Fun!

This is the most essential aspect of writing.  You have to have fun with it. You’re not writing 500-word essays for your high school literature class; you’re writing a novel, a screenplay, a play, short stories, poems, or non-fiction.  This is the fun stuff.  Enjoy the creative ride.

I believe that the passion, excitement, and joy you have while writing translates off the page to the reader or viewer.  Creative writing shouldn’t be a torturous affair; it should be fun, invigorating, energizing.  

While there is plenty of hard work involved, it’s work that should be approached from a positive place, not one of dread or resentment.  Go into each writing session open-minded, ready to write, and have a good time.

I hope these tips help you plan out your writing goals for 2022.  I know that I will make a concerted effort to write every day, complete multiple projects, and stay focused on creating fun, positive, creative writing experiences each time I start a new writing session.

Happy New Year, Happy Writing, and I’ll be back with more articles in 2022!