My Own Time

19 01 2014

The women of Midlife Boulevard are writing about the best advice they have ever received or given. A bloghop is when a group of bloggers write on the same subject and link their stories together. The links to my friends’ blogs are at the end of this post.

I give workshops on the creative process. I tell people that it is important to understand your own unique process because when you’re stuck creatively, you can create and have the tools to help you move forward. I’ve had to take my own advice. In writing this post, I was stuck. I was writing, but I wasn’t saying anything. So I put it aside and went about my day. It’s now something completely different. I threw the original away.

crap

Throwing work away and starting over is hard. We often feel that our ideas are our children, we love our ideas, we think they are the best ideas in the whole world, we want the whole world to love our ideas too. But an idea is not a child and sometimes that idea is crap and needs to be thrown away. I’m an Art Director in my day job. Clients often throw my ideas away; even those that are not crap. I’ve learned to not take it personally, to let go, start over and come up with a new idea. But the real challenge for a creative is to throw your own work away because you know that it can be better.

bookThere’s a book I like to use as a resource in studying the creative process. It’s The Creative Process Illustrated. The author asked various advertising professionals to illustrate their creative process. There are similarities and differences in all. I’ve learned my writing process is different than my design process. It’s something like this:

•   Wake up early

•   In my PJs, with a cup of coffee, handwrite in a notebook, curled up in my chair

•   Stare off into space, write, meditate, write, meditate, get another cup of coffee, write, meditate

•   Walk away from draft, take a shower

•   Rewrite draft on computer

•   Print it out, go back to chair, edit all over the page

•   Repeat

•   Write, edit

•   Write, edit

•  Write, edit

•  Go for a walk

•   Write, edit,

•   Proof, proof again

•   Publish

 •  Keep finding typos

I like to participate in Midlife Boulevard’s monthly blog hops. This pushes my writing in new directions, a good thing for my creative spirit. This month’s theme was to write about the best advice you’ve ever gotten or given. I had gone through my writing process and realized I had to listen to my creative process. It told me to throw an idea away that was not working.

The only thing worth keeping in my first draft was my first paragraph:
“I remember saying at 21 that I was never getting married, never having children and never going to live in my home town, as I moved away for that first job upon college graduation. I remember my mom calmly saying, you’ll do everything in your own time. I remembered those words when at 33, I was married, expecting a baby and living back in my home town.”

My mom’s wise words were that things happen to you in your own time. It’s proven to be true as I look back on my life and it’s just as true in my creative life. Being a writer is still new and fresh to me. I’ve recently been asked to join a writer’s group. I’m flattered that others see me as a writer as I have only begun to see myself that way. As my mom told me—it has happened in my own time.

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14 responses

19 01 2014
melinda!

Connie, once again you’ve captured the creative process perfectly. It’s a giant reminder to the rest of us that inspiration doesn’t always flow smoothly. I’m going for a walk right now as a tribute to your post–I have some writing to do so that seems like the best way to get started!

(Could really relate to “Publish. Keep finding typos.”)

19 01 2014
conniemcleod

Thanks Melinda, I’ve moved on to a design project. I’m now in the procrastination phase. Must be time for a walk for me too!!

19 01 2014
Pat

Your creative process sounds oh so familiar, right down to go for a walk. When I am stuck, I also turn to other writers for inspiration…like you!

19 01 2014
conniemcleod

Thanks Pat. I know we’re not alone in going for walks! I’m due for one soon.

19 01 2014
Laurel Regan

But the real challenge for a creative is to throw your own work away because you know that it can be better.

Oh, so very true!

19 01 2014
conniemcleod

Yep, it’s soooo hard to do.

20 01 2014
Lisa Garon Froman

Connie, I love that you are seeing yourself ( and your talents) in a more expansive way. Yes, you are an art director, a writer, a storyteller, a creative, a woman on a journey. Of expression. You continue to grow on your creative journey and accepting all parts of it…the expression, the flow, the choke- holds, are all part of it. I love being on this creative journey with you!

20 01 2014
conniemcleod

Lisa, I’m reading your comment early in the morning ready for a quiet meditative hour. I’ve got Tao Flashes next to me for inspiration. Like my post said, we are in each other’s lives at the exact right moment in time. I love that!! And I treasure our friendship.

21 01 2014
Lois Alter Mark

So true. You can’t follow anyone else’s process — we each have to find our own rhythm and do it in our own time. But I can’t believe you are only now starting to see yourself as a writer, because you are such a good one!

21 01 2014
conniemcleod

Lois, you are so kind!

22 01 2014
Johanna

Some wonderful inspiration here, thank you! I think we all find our own ways in the end, but it’s always interesting and helpful to keep on learning from other people – not only new ways of igniting the creative process, but also from the point of view of affirming that some of the things we do already, others do too!

22 01 2014
conniemcleod

Thanks for your comment, Johanna. I do believe our individual creative processes have more similarities than differences.

22 01 2014
sulliv90

As usual you have struck a chord with me Connie with your great writing. Even when you say you’re throwing your writing out you still manage to deliver such a great message. I especially love the part about not thinking you’re a writer yet. I feel the same way “I just blog…no biggie”. Hugs, V

22 01 2014
conniemcleod

The awesome thing Virginia, is that we ARE writers!

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