Monday, January 7, 2013

Rekindling Creative Abandon

My regular coffee dates with my friend Tracy always inspire me, or at the very least, give me some new insight to chew on. At the end of today’s coffee date, she said, “So…what’s up with your blog?”

I had my excuses ready: no time, too much pressure, nothing interesting to say.

We ended up staying at the coffee shop another half hour during which time I had an epiphany. Tracy and I are both PR professionals who have had to write and edit as part of our jobs for more than two decades.  We write for media and public consumption. Our words have to educate or influence. Thus, they are evaluated by our employers and our colleagues and our audiences. We adhere to fairly strict protocols and formats.  It matters what others think of our work.

Writing outside the work environment – be it fiction or creative nonfiction – is more complicated. I believe the rules we apply to our work writing negatively influence our creativity. In my case, I set up unrealistic expectations related to how much I write, how often I write, who reads my writing, etc. I don’t allow myself the abandon that should come with creative work. I don’t allow myself to color the grass pink and the sky purple, or to color outside the lines.

Instead, I label the phenomena as writer’s block or limited time or lack of energy.

So, there’s the epiphany. I have some ideas on how to rekindle creative abandon and will share as I put them into practice. What's limiting your creativity?

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