What To Do When You Doubt Your Creativity

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I wrote this last week as Post It Note Poetry was coming to a close. For the month of February I was writing something new every day on the spur of the moment with very little editing or development. Dedicated crafting and revision is not the point of Post It Note Poetry.

Side Note: Post It Note Poetry presents its own set of creative issues and problems. I’ve reflected on them at the end of the month in 2013 (Post It Note Poetry Wrap Up) and 2014 (Lessons Learned from Post It Note Poetry). There is no need to revisit them again.

It has been a long while since I have written something new as I’ve been trying to complete the first drafts on some longer pieces (one of which is the stupid novella I’ve been saying I’ll write for the past 2 years). I have another short story (approx. 3.5K) that still needs work and has been revised and reworked numerous times.

What it all means is the process from idea to first draft, then edits, more drafts and finally, completion, is time consuming.

It’s the long drag between first draft and end of first draft (when you know the work has potential but it’s not yet realised) that makes me doubt. Even the short story mentioned above has been languishing for almost 12 months as I sort through various drafts, comments and plot issues.

Similarly, my novella and verse novel need some serious reworking in terms of plot. I started the novella with an outline but have realised it needs further revision. The verse novel started without an outline (trying different methodologies) and it needs a clear direction and focus. 

On top of that, the latter half of last year was a creative wasteland in some respects. Work demands were a high priority and a creative sink hole as I worked through marking papers, editing students’ major works and completed edits on a friend’s 104K sci-fi novel.

It meant I approached January as a time to rebuild myself creatively. But it didn’t happen. Everything I returned to felt like drinking a cup of sand. It was exhausting. And I seriously contemplated bailing on Post It Note Poetry as I doubted myself and my creative abilities.

What to do, then, if you are beginning to doubt your creativity? I have 2 solutions.

1. Stick with your creative community.

Your creative community is your most valuable asset. I have a group of people I can rely on to listen when I vent, whinge, complain, throw a tantrum, doubt, despair, consider chucking it all in.

They were there either via text or Facebook or messaging. Most of the time they simply listened. Occasionally they offered advice or encouragement. I have a creative colleague at school and we have our “Mea Cuppa” sessions, talking through ideas or talking rubbish while having cups of tea.

If you’re not part of a community, seek one out either in real life or online.

2. Keep turning up to the page as persistence pays off.

Deciding to complete Post It Note Poetry meant I had to turn up to the page Every. Single. Day. to complete a poem. Some poems came easier than others but I was compelled to keep going.

Even if you think you are creating rubbish, it is all about priming and preparing yourself for the next project whether it’s something new or returning to complete something older. It’s like training is for an athlete. Do the practice, complete the exercises in readiness for the main event.

For me, March (and the coming months) brings new vision and clarity for the projects I want to complete and the new ones on the horizon. For right now, I’ll keep turning up to the page and pressing on.

How do you keep your creativity flowing when you have doubts? Leave your ideas in the comments.

Post It Note Poetry Recap Week 4 – The End

Welcome to the end of the official month of Post It Note Poetry (don’t stop writing Post It Note Poetry; I won’t be stopping, only slowing down the production) but its time has come to an end for this year.

28 days of poetry. 28 poems. 1099 words (of questionable merit). In reviewing the poems I wrote, I am proud of many of them. Others have the potential to be developed or refined further. Some should be consigned to the rubbish bin. However, the point of this month was to simply write, and with permission to write badly, so I wrote. 

And now we have come to the last weekly recap. You can find the other weekly recaps here:

Post It Note Poetry Recap Week 1
Post It Note Poetry Recap Week 2
Post It Note Poetry Recap Week 3

At the end of last week’s recap I set myself a challenge to remix my own poems for the final week of Post It Note Poetry. I would take a single line from the poem and use it as the opening line of a new poem. Perhaps not so much a remix as an inspiration. Consequently it has opened up new ideas for next year with found poetry, other remixes and collaborations.

I found myself censoring lines, or thinking which lines might be good for the next day. It was a distraction from the poem at hand but I found the “OFF” switch to allow me to finish the poem. It may be easier to take the line from someone else’s poem because there is not the built in expectation of having to write something worthwhile. Maybe next year I’ll have another remix week where I borrow from other participants’ poems.

The poems are presented here in chronological order so you can see the progression, unlike previous weeks where they have been posted in reverse chronological order.

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Thanks for coming along for the ride of Post It Note Poetry. It will be back again next year. I will be writing more Post It Notes poems from time to time. Be sure to check my tumblr, Post It Notes and Poetry, for posts and poetry updates.

Do you have any favourites? Leave yours in the comments.

A Little Prompting #5

A Little Prompting

How have you been doing? What have you been creating? I would love to hear if anything has transpired.

Here is this week’s set of prompts.

THEME Reconnection
RANDOM LINE PROMPT The telephone wires kept pace with the road; long tendrils connecting the lover and the loved as a physical symbol of their connection
PHOTOGRAPH RetroTelephone_01_640x-thumb-520x390

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/12/04/a-perfect-nobullshit.html

SONG/MUSIC VIDEO Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside A Broken Phone Box
SENSORY SUGGESTION The pulse of the dial tone before you hit the buttons
QUOTE You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation – Plato

Post It Note Poetry 2015 Recap Week 3

How have you been going this week? Have you had a chance to write something?

Here is this week’s recap of my Post It Note Poetry. You can also see the recaps for Week 1 and Week 2.

They are posted in reverse order (Sunday 22 Feb – Monday 9 Feb) and I’ve added in the inspiration behind each poem. 

This week involved a lot of trawling through my notebook and pilfering half written ideas.

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This poem was sparked by a random song lyric on the radio this morning on my way to playing drums at church this morning. 

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This poem came out of a line in my notebook about ourselves being a minotaur, a hybrid of the things we have created, and putting ourselves in a maze we created. 

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Another line from my notebook, sparked by one time when I was filling the ice cube tray. Sometimes I fill it cube by cube; other times I cascade the water until it is full. What does that say about my character?

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No one remembers milk bars anymore; they are a relic of the past. I love watching the patterns made my shadows. Notebooks for the win for ideas.

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Getting my wordy geek on. Finishing off a poem I was going to write last year (at about this time) as a longer exploration. Instead, the brevity worked better.

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Another notebook find. I’m not happy with the end section of this poem; it is inconsistent with the first part. 

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I do not remember how this one came about as it was not an idea I took from my notebook. A photograph is, for me, a snapshot of one moment, one experience. It serves as a reminder of what was, but doesn’t speak of what will be.

Final Note

For the last week of the official Post It Note Poetry season, I thought I’d go for a remix week. I will take a line from the previous day’s poem as the basis for the next poem. Starting Monday I will write a new poem, and Tuesday will be the first remix.

A Little Prompting #4

Welcome to the fourth A Little Prompting.

Are you finding some good ideas? What is inspiring you?

When I am compiling the prompts, the focal point could be the theme, the sensory suggestion or a quote. In this case, it’s the song. The groove and quiet delivery of the vocals that intrigue me in this song. One of my favourites to hear on the radio  when I was growing up.

THEME Isolation 
RANDOM LINE PROMPT She felt the coolness of the vinyl bench seats warming to human contact.
PHOTOGRAPH TN_isolation-

http://www.artshole.co.uk/justinebeckett.htm

SONG/MUSIC VIDEO Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner 
SENSORY SUGGESTION The taste of bitter, burnt coffee.
QUOTE Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth – Oscar Wilde

 

Post It Note Poetry 2015 Recap Week 2

This week I did not follow a theme for titles or content; I let the ideas sprout where they were sown. I might do a week of another theme or a week of found poetry. Haven’t decided yet. Or I might scatter some more seeds and see what comes out of the compost heap.

You can catch up on Week 1 here.

They are posted in reverse order (Sunday 15 – Sunday 8 February)

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Which poem strikes a chord with you and why?

 

A Little Prompting #3

So, how have you all been doing with these prompts? Have they been useful? Have they sparked ideas you’ve planted like seeds in your notebook? Nothing yet?

Here is this week’s prompts.

THEME Invisible in Plain Sight
RANDOM LINE PROMPT Pages were torn from the book, not with rage or fury, but with meticulous care, guided by the ruler’s wooden edge and placed in order upon the dining room table.
PHOTOGRAPH kevin-carter-vulture-and-child

Kevin Carter http://brigitteofseon.wordpress.com/

SONG/MUSIC VIDEO Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away
SENSORY SUGGESTION A child’s red t-shirt spotted in the middle of a crowd
QUOTE If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see – Henry David Thoreau