More Creative Energy Considerations: is it procrastination, or gestating?

Thoughts on Entertainment, Writing

Another great post from Seth Godin:

Low & Slow (vs. fear)

My sourdough rye bread failed. For the first time since I’ve been baking from this starter, this weekend’s batch didn’t work.

I know why.

I rushed it.

I didn’t let the dough ferment long enough.

And then I made the oven hotter, in an effort to get the loaves finished so I could leave to meet someone.

That’s not how great bread works. It’s ready when it’s ready, not when you need it to be.

Of course, the analogy is obvious. Much of the work we do as creators, as leaders, as people seeking to make change–it needs to ferment, to create character and tension and impact. And if we rush it, we get nothing worth very much.

There’s a flipside.

Sometimes, we mistakenly believe that we’re building something that takes time, but what we’re actually doing is hiding. We stall and digress and cause distractions, not because the work needs us to, but because we’re afraid to ship.

Impatience can be a virtue if it causes us to leap through the fear that holds us back.

This is something I am often conflicted about. On the one hand, I do believe the creative well can be overfished, and some stories need time in the unconscious to develop (or gestate, as the book Movies in the Mind calls it)…but I also believe if you just sit down, the story shows up–and I’ve had the latter happen to me a bunch of times, even during times of great stress!

But I feel the temptation towards for procrastination when a novel or story leaves the first section (introducing the character in a setting with a problem). I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT COMES NEXT but usually the solution is to sit down and just have fun with whatever shows up next. Beat the fear by being willing to try.

But sometimes I’m genuinely tired and need a break, time to rest up and watch Star Trek and doodle aimlessly.

You have to show up. But also…

Animated Toy Story 2 GIF: YOU CAN'T RUSH ART says Geri the toy repairer.I’m just not sure which I believe more strongly! What do you think?

Creativity and Time Management Considerations

Thoughts on Entertainment

(Reposting from my Mastodon account, because I think peeps will find it useful)

Upon reading about the way loot boxes mimic gambling I stumbled upon gamequitters.com/
Since them, I’ve been musing about how much compy/tablet time I’m using when I could be producing or practicing something lasting.

My argument for playing single-player games is that everything I take in is grist for the mill (inspiration for art or writing). I feel like if I stop, I could overfish my creative well. But I also don’t want to waste my time as a watcher and not a doer. And sometimes social media and seeing everyone’s art saps energy.
The most MP game I play is Armello, but I think I’ll delete it [EDIT: since this post, I did that and deleted a few card games that I was spending too much time on].

I think Game Quitters is very savvy though–that factors that make people turn to gaming (or other not-so-productive behaviors) are:

  • sociality
  • challenge
  • a steady sense of progress
  • (and my husband added) validation.
  • And I’d add fear.

I could use more of IRL sociality. I feel like writing and art give me plenty of challenge and a sense of progress but other psychological things make me feel like I’M NEVER GOOD ENOUGH so there’s that, too.

Your Worst Draft Ever

Muse at 11, Writing

In our last episode, I advised that you “write whatever shows up” in your first draft, including seemingly unrelated tangents.

But sometimes…you know…writing whatever shows up just…feels…awkward.  And it certainly doesn’t look nice and publishable when you’re done!

Here’s a trick you can use to conquer perfectionism paralysis.  It was given to me by Professor McFarland, a German teacher of mine.  He said, and I quote:

“Write the worst paper ever.”

This was an actual in-class assignment from him, and it helped me out all throughout college and beyond.  Anytime the blank page looks to intimidating, I just give myself the goal of writing the worst piece of writing ever.  And suddenly, I can get started!

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman