Killing Creativity: Bad Behaviors to Ditch When Your Writing Requires Inspiration
When clients set out to find freelance writers, they probably envisage an uninhibited mind at work, brimming with ideas and creativity. We all experience those moments but let’s cut the malarkey, they don’t always come easily!
Sometimes inspiration fails to flow.The natural reaction is to search for ways to reignite the fire to write, to rekindle creativity.
While that’s a worthy pursuit – and one that finer minds than mine advise upon – there are times when we can work too hard to get inspired. The very act of trying to force creativity can block it still further, leaving us frustrated and unproductive.
To escape that downward spiral, it’s important to understand the types of behavior that reinforce it.
Distraction Breeds Inaction
Taking a break from the creative process is advisable to allow your brain time to breathe.The danger of distraction, though, is that it completely pulls us away from the task at hand. In some cases losing that train of thought, even when it’s stuck in a siding, can be more paralyzing,
Relying on Research
A common reaction to a lack of creative drive is to read more thoroughly around the subject. While a solid base of ideas from others is helpful to get things started, it’s our own understanding that should fuel what we write.
There will always be more research to be done, but time and deadlines wait for no–one. Cutting to the core is more likely to catalyze your mind than one more round of research.
If you have any tendency to blame yourself for a break in creativity, stamp it out immediately. Doubt can creep in when work grinds to a halt, but the only thing it accomplishes is feeding the failure to produce.
Looking back at past projects and successes is an effective way to ditch this feeling, reinforcing confidence in the underlying ability that’s just waiting to be released again.
Focusing Too Hard
Doubling down on staring at the screen rarely elicits anything more than that same blinking cursor. It’s easy to feel guilty when we step away from a piece that’s proving tough, particularly as a deadline looms large.
But taking time away isn’t a crime.
In fact, if doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of crazy, writers following this behavior must enter a plea of insanity. Give yourself a break, literally!
Bad habits are easy to fall into and often hard to break. Watch the way you react next time your writing requires inspiration and make sure the solutions you shoot for aren’t actually killing your creativity even more.
Steve B is a freelance writer and content marketing consultant living in Brooklyn, New York. His favorite forms of creative inspiration are great views, good news and, if all else fails, a hard-hitting ‘Red Eye’ from the nearest artisanal coffee joint.