I don’t know about you, but my motivation (and resulting creativity) flows in waves. My boyfriend seems endlessly creative. He sees a story everywhere, and he’s very focused. I cannot tell you how much I wish that was the case for me. No, for me every given day is different, and, at times, I find myself easily distracted and unproductive. As I’m trying to build a career, that’s not particularly helpful. It’s forced me to identify the things that get in the way of my motivation and creative impulses, so that when I see them heading towards me, I can deal with them more effectively and get back to writing.
Four Things That Always Spell Trouble for My Creativity
When the Clutter Wins
I am in a constant battle with clutter. I’m not a collector, so I don’t have the endless figurines, or memorabilia piles (though there is some of that from back in the X-Files days which I really do need to eBay soon). My biggest clutter category is paper: bills, junk mail, receipts, scripts, series documents, etc. I’ve made big strides overall, but I know that my motivation is going to take a hit when the clutter starts to take over my desk, bedroom, coffee table, or kitchen table. It’s a distraction that moves my brain off of creative pursuits (or at least allows me to justify procrastination).
There are real reasons to be stressed out: world events, financial issues, weight gain, heat waves, whatever. When I find myself stressed about everything and anything, I know that it is time to take a break and re-focus. Otherwise, the stress blocks any possibility I have for being creative (though I suppose I could write about the stress).
I love television (far more than movies these days), and I have a fair bit of it programmed into my DVR. However, I have to be very careful not to put on the television first thing in the morning. This is not just because my day might be lost to an HGTV marathon, but because if I get caught up in someone else’s fictional world, I have trouble creating my own. So, if I find myself gravitating towards the television, I know that spells trouble, and I try to steer myself away as quickly as possible until I’ve exhausted my own creative efforts.
I was just reading an article about how the lack of money impacts cognitive function: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function It made me think about how money issues impact my own thought, and, by extension, creative processes. Luckily (knock on wood), I’m not facing extreme poverty, but when money concerns arise, I do find that I am much less likely to lose myself in creative pursuits. I find myself focusing on dealing with the financial issues rather than working on something that could yield financial benefits down the road (ie I look to the immediate rather than the big picture).
What are the things that signal trouble for you?