Keeping the Creative Flow Uninhibited

How do you get around the pressure of creating? We all have our own pressures that we have to overcome when trying to make something. What's yours? For me, my pressures are largely based on finding the time to create and having the courage to make something that might not be everything I hoped it could be. With every creative endeavor in every type of art I'm capable of trying, I have this assumption that I'll be able to make something amazing (on my first attempt, of course).

That pressure for finding the perfect solution every time can be a strong preventative to ever creating anything. Forget a creative flow. That's complete stoppage.

Close to the end of the year, I unconsciously found a cheat to the system. By writing in a notebook, I found that I could write more freely, knowing that I would have to type up everything before it could go out to the world. By simply creating an extra step, I had newfound freedom. It's silly, but it really worked for me.

It's Not About the Tools

The funny thing about that little brain hack is that I didn't really realize how symbolic the format was. It's not paper and pen that makes the process easier; it's simply a creative phase where I don't stress about what people will think about what I'm saying. It's a matter of having the creative space where my inhibitions don't intrude on the process.

In the past week, I adapted a bit to help me start blogging more frequently. Once again, I didn't consciously set out with the intention of finding a "better" way for me to write. It was just a new idea to break up the stagnant system I'd been trying. See, I'd already forgotten about the notebook-writing that quickly. Probably in the interest of being more efficient, but instead I found myself not writing for longer stretches of time. Not too efficient, right?

I've started writing 1,000 words at a time in Evernote. I'll work on email newsletters, new posts, some fiction, whatever I feel like working on at the time without the pressure of having to have something accomplished other than a word count. Because I picked up writing habits from On Writing by Stephen King and from participating in NaNoWriMo, this process makes sense to me.

And the process enforces an editorial phase where I have to go back and sort out all of the bits and pieces I wrote. I know, it sounds like a headache, but I'm settling into a flow of consciousness style for my first drafts that is allowing me to come up with unexpected ideas. I can add more structure, quotes, punctuation, and all of that good stuff when I move the post to Wordpress.

The editing phase is still essential. I'm just separating it from the production phase to completely focus my brain on one form of creation.

What About You?

Does flow of consciousness writing work for you? If not, do you have any new creative hacks you've stumbled across recently?

Image courtesy of Paul Bica