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Just about anyone can twirl a storytelling gem once in a blue moon.
Delivering the creative goods every day, throughout a career, requires a more strategic approach.
An infographic compiled by the inimitable Henneke from Enchanting Marketing makes a compelling case for why writers shouldn’t rest on their laurels, waiting for the muse to arrive. She recommends nurturing specific habits to keep the creative wick constantly lit:
Understand how creative input fuels output. “Inspiration favors the prepared mind,” says Columbia University psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman. Henneke uses this premise to drive her point that “inspiration” begins with “preparation.” To get the juices flowing, writers should do two things: “Show up and do the work,” and, “Find your favorite sources of inspiration.”
If you’re stuck in a mucky dry spell, try learning a new skill, pursuing a different form of art or attempting another creative pursuit outside your field of expertise. Might I suggest chess boxing or perhaps a bit of yak racing to jostle those ideas loose?
Nurture a productive relationship with your inner critic. Writers often struggle with self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. Many of us operate with a ruthless internal Tomatometer that nitpicks every perceived weakness or mistake.
Henneke writes: “Teach your inner critic to provide constructive feedback at the right time.” So, instead of telling yourself, “Ugh you suck. I wonder how long it takes to become a garbage collector?”—adopt a “growth mindset.” Make a mess of that first draft, and remember that “perfect doesn’t exist.” Give yourself grace and the freedom to grow as a writer.