Can we increase our creative limit?

We all know that you can only do so much in a day. But like when you are able to fit in dessert even though you have finished a whopping great dinner, are you able to cram more into your day if we diversify?

When I started my blog, the ideas were flowing. I didn’t have time to think, and I didn’t really have to.  My blog posts provided an opportunity for me to be creative, while the revisions, edits and proofreading efforts on book one had become more mechanical than inspirational. Would I be able to polish my MS if I had to do this as well as 2000 new words a day on book two? Probably not, but the blog was a great way to keep new ideas flowing. I was diversifying my creativity, but I still had a limit.

As of today, I am right into book two. Not only that, I’m writing 2000 words a day and I’m doing it in three hours. And the best part is, I’m not unhappy with it: they are not just any old 2000 words.  But the inspiration for my blog posts is sadly drying. Am I pulling from a creative pool which is not infinite? Am I a pie chart and book two  is a fat chunk hogging all my creative space? While I’m forming this new routine, and pumping ideas into the storyline? Yes.

We can only stretch so far, so I wonder whether with creativity, we only have so much to give. I think this is the case, but I also believe that we increase our capacity. I know that a year ago I was struggling to get to 1000 words a day, and there is no way I would have had room for a blog as well.

What’s changed? Why do I hold such an optimistic view on the future of the pairing that is my blog and book? I hear a lot that writing is like building a muscle. And like building muscles, you can withstand more and more pressure with less effort as time progresses.

The best part about likening writing to muscle building, is that you can also refer to muscle memory. I spent two years building my writing capabilities and then three months ago, I put my routine on hold to polish my MS.  Now that I’m back into my writing routine for book two, I have been able to jump straight back in as though I’ve been doing this every day for two years. So like muscle memory with exercise, because I was continually stretching over time, I have been able to ease back in, and ease back in at a higher level than if I had never stretched this muscle before.

I’ve also noticed that I have more creative juice available as the mechanical process of writing has become more unconscious, allowing me to focus on the creative side of writing.

So, I have increased my creative capacity, but I still believe I am conscious of how much I have to give. If I pull too much in one direction, something is going to give, and at the moment, I can’t afford for that to be the quality of book two. Hopefully, over time, I have blog posts banging away at me as I struggle to go back to sleep at 4 a.m. Hmm maybe I should write 3000 words a day. I really don’t like being awake at 4…

Do you have a creative limit, or do you find you can write more the more creative you allow yourself to be?

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Can we increase our creative limit?

  1. I definitely have a creative limit – I find it hard both to keep on top of my blog and make progress on book 2. I think I’m going to have to be a bit more disciplined, because at the moment the book is always coming second (“I’ll just knock out that post and then I’ll be able to concentrate properly…”). Good to hear that I’m not alone!

    • It’s a tough balance and I must admit that until I’ve written my post for the week, I can’t relax enough to get into my writing. It sounds like I don’t enjoy blogging. I do, I just don’t have the ideas coming as naturally as they did two months ago. I have no doubt that when I get to my first stumbling block with my book, I’ll be blogging more lol

  2. And I think I just proved this today. After writing my post, I only wrote 1200 words instead of my target of 2000. That’s scary…I took creative energy from my pool!

  3. Speaking as a math teacher I’ll give you some equations:

    Desire + Necessity = Priority
    Artificial Goals + Self-imposed Necessity = Stress
    Accessible Creativity = (True Creativity) / Stress

    If we assume a baseline (and arbitrary) value of 1 for ordinary day-to-day stress that doesn’t affect us much then Accessible Creativity (AC) equals True Creativity (TC). Now, add the stress of artificially imposed deadlines, side issues whose perceived importance is greater than actual importance and mountains that were molehills yesterday (and will be again tomorrow) we see an increase in stress which, since it is in the denominator of the third equation above, results in a DECREASE in AC!

    If, on the other hand, we can DECREASE our daily stress, resulting in a denominator less than one, our AC actually EXCEEDS TC!!

    Not logical? Well… As stress approaches zero TRUE CREATIVITY APPROACHES POSITIVE INFINITY ASYMPTOTICALLY!!!!!

    In other words, don’t put pressure on yourself you don’t need. Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day and yes, daily life consumes some of those but, as we all know, a little creativity goes a long way and it, like any wild animal, is at its best when it is unfettered.

    So. Kick back, relax and go with your creativity. Don’t force it to go with you!

    -matt

    • now how can I kick back and relax while I am trying to work out equations! Math is so confusing lol I probably shouldn’t force myself to make my word quota – it will taint the content. But I have to work to some kind of deadline to keep busy or I would go crazy as I try to get published. Thanks for your attention as always, Matt 🙂

  4. I really liked this post. Others, too, for that matter. That’s why I nominated you for a Liebster Award. You can find the post here (http://wp.me/p2xbqA-eA), and I would be happy if you accept, but can also understand that if you’re not the award accepting type or have too many of these already or whatever, that this might just not be your cup of tea. 🙂 Anyway, I love your blog!

  5. Great post Lorelle! I think that in order to be creative we also need to be focused. So the question becomes, how well can we focus on several things at once? We will always focus more on one thing over another. 🙂

  6. I love how you likened writing to muscle memory, that is so true! Writing and reviewing comes really naturally to me now because I blog so much. But I haven’t played the piano in such a long time, when I try I stumble all over it. Great post Lorelle!

  7. I find that if I blog too much, I lose out on my writing – and that hurts. I have found, though, that shorter pieces for my blog work as well, are easy and faster to produce, and gives me book-writing time.

    It is a balancing thing, I’ve found, but the book has to come first. Always. Or I’ll go crazy.

    Cheers! 😀

  8. I seem to have a limit, but, having written for so many decades, I find that I write better, so writing for less hours doesn’t really effect the end product. I write a little less, but I also have to edit less, so it all works out. The thing that interferes the most with my creativity is keeping up with all the social networking and marketing that I have to do. A blog, a website, an FB page, and Linked In groups, plus some social activism, and I am often done for the day. I have to be very protective of my creative time and energy, and say no to a lot more diversions.

    • I have to start limiting myself to 30mins to an hour a day with social media or I would never get to write. I agree with you: even after two years of writing, I have found those hours of writing are of a higher standard and less energy is required for editing and such. I guess that’s why they say keep writing – your creativity has more room to shine 🙂

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