Archive for the 'Finding Time to Write' Category

10 Ways for Writers to Stay Creative During the Busy Holiday Season

  1. Redefine your idea of creativity. If you don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.
  2. Use a tape recorder to write bits of dialogue and scenes while driving to and from errands.
  3. Write in the shower.
  4. If you’re working on a larger project — a novel, a screenplay or even a short story — take five or 10 minutes before bed every night to write the next paragraph or just the next sentence.  You’ll keep your momentum going even when you don’t have much time.
  5. Carry a few index cards with you wherever you go and make the commitment to fill one with something creative every day when you can find a few minutes.
  6. Write a prompt on an index card for each day you expect to be busy, and commit to freewriting for 10 minutes using that prompt.
  7. Enjoy some non-writing creativity. Make interesting holiday decorations, cards and presents. It all stimulates the muse!
  8. Schedule a writing appointment or two for yourself during the holidays. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Then go somewhere away from the madness of your life and keep that date.
  9. Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her. You can find an example here.
  10. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

And the last word: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write as much as you planned. Enjoy your holidays and start fresh in the new year.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Write Naked

I’m rerunning this popular post because I know some of you out there want to know how to capture your shower and bath musings!  

Okay, I know I gave this post a provocative title. Provocative, but not misleading, because I’m going to talk about writing while in the shower.

shower

In my post Friday, I mentioned dragging my Muse into the shower to sneak in a creative moment. Writing in the shower came up in the comments to that post, too. Since it was on my mind, I did a little Internet research about shower writing. And I found products!

I’ve always written in my head in the shower, repeating a few sentences over and over until I’m finished so I won’t forget them. It never occurred to me to actually physically write in the shower. But apparently it occurred to other people, because you can buy the items below to help with your shower-time creativity.

Links to Shower Writing Tools:

Erasable Shower Note Tablet: Like a small whiteboard, with waterproof crayons, a crayon caddy and suction cup mounts included.

AquaNotes: A pad of waterproof paper with suction cups to attach it to the shower wall. Comes with a water-resistant cedar pencil and a suction cup pencil holder. You can buy the regular AquaNotes or the “LoveNotes” to leave a message for that special someone in the shower!

Underwater Dive Slate: A search for “dive slate” turns up dozens of different dive slates made for scuba divers. But they’ll work fine in the shower, too.

waterfall

These are products designed for construction professionals who need to take notes in all sorts of weather:

Waterproof Bound Book

Waterproof Notepad

All-Weather Pen: A ballpoint pen that “writes on wet paper, and upside down in temperatures from -50 to 400°F.” I think at 400°F, the pen might be fine, but the writer would have melted into a puddle!

I also found advice to use kids’ washable crayons or old-fashioned grease pencils to write on tile shower walls.

So choose your method and don’t let a little water dampen your creativity!
 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Only Have Five Minutes for Creativity? Try This Metaphor Exercise

January can be a tough month: recovering from holiday overwhelm; dealing with sniffles, flu, and cold weather; trying to get back into the swing of things. Sometimes it feels impossible to be creative. So it seems like the perfect time to rerun this post about one of my favorite quick creative exercises. Even when you’re not feeling well and have no time, you CAN nourish your creative soul with this five-minute play break.

If you’d like to try your hand at the metaphor exercise, check out the starter items in the Tiny Packages section of the Readers’ Sandbox—or come up with your own. And, as always, I love it when you share your creative endeavors here!

Sandbox Challenge #1: A Camel is a Walking Sand Dune:

I’ve been engaged in several rounds of  a grueling match with the Human Head Pounder, the Vicious Throat Scratcher, the Phlegmy Cough Monster and a few of their other unpleasant pals. Now that I’ve gotten them halfway back into their caves, I’ve started thinking about how to stay creative when I’m sick. When deadlines start moaning because it looks like I may not meet them. When unpaid bills and undone chores begin growing horns and making increasingly scary noises. When the words in my brain stick together like swollen, overcooked pasta.

Then I remembered that a camel is a walking sand dune.

camel shadow

It’s a metaphor exercise I developed for myself during a period of intense busy-ness that had me nearly crying with my inability to find time for creativity. In order to calm myself down, I decided I could take FIVE MINUTES before bed every night for creativity.

Here’s what I did: I carried a small notebook with me, and during the day, I would jot down a few items, like “music blasting from a passing car,” “ocean waves,” “a black cat,” “a waterfall.”

Then, in those five minutes before bed, I would create metaphors for some of the things I’d written:

Music blasting from a passing car is a 30-second parade.

Waves are arpeggios on the ocean.black cat in garden

A black cat is a soft shadow.

A waterfall is long hair falling down a woman’s back.

I find this a wonderful exercise, because it sparks my creative imagination even when I have only a couple of tired minutes. And some of the metaphors I’ve created in these stolen moments have found their way into my stories and essays. I still keep a small notebook with starter items always ready to be turned into metaphors.

I’m going to begin issuing small writing challenges here. These will be geared toward the concept of this blog—that creativity can take place in tiny found moments—so none of them should take very long.

For this first challenge, write a metaphor/metaphors like the ones I’ve discussed here.  Post your answers in the Tiny Packages section of the Readers’ Sandbox.  I’ve left some starter items there, or you can come up with your own.


DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Ways for Writers to Stay Creative During the Busy Holiday Season

  1. Redefine your idea of creativity. If you don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.
  2. Use a tape recorder to write bits of dialogue and scenes while driving to and from errands.
  3. Write in the shower.
  4. If you’re working on a larger project — a novel, a screenplay or even a short story — take five or 10 minutes before bed every night to write the next paragraph or just the next sentence.  You’ll keep your momentum going even when you don’t have much time.
  5. Carry a few index cards with you wherever you go and make the commitment to fill one with something creative every day when you can find a few minutes.
  6. Write a prompt on an index card for each day you expect to be busy, and commit to freewriting for 10 minutes using that prompt.
  7. Enjoy some non-writing creativity. Make interesting holiday decorations, cards and presents. It all stimulates the muse!
  8. Schedule a writing appointment or two for yourself during the holidays. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Then go somewhere away from the madness of your life and keep that date.
  9. Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her. You can find an example here.
  10. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

And the last word: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write as much as you planned. Enjoy your holidays and start fresh in the new year.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Only Have Five Minutes for Creativity? Try This Metaphor Exercise

I’ve been under the weather and trying not to be overwhelmed by life. Having one of those weeks when it seems impossible to be creative. So it feels like a perfect time to rerun this post about one of my favorite quick creative exercises. Even when you’re not feeling well and have no time, you CAN nourish your creative soul with this five-minute play break.

Okay, I’m going to go drink some hot tea and write a couple of metaphors before I get back to work…if you’d like to try your hand at the metaphor exercise, check out the starter items in the Tiny Packages section of the Readers’ Sandbox—or come up with your own. And, as always, I love it when you share your creative endeavors here!

Sandbox Challenge #1: A Camel is a Walking Sand Dune:

I’ve been engaged in several rounds of  a grueling match with the Human Head Pounder, the Vicious Throat Scratcher, the Phlegmy Cough Monster and a few of their other unpleasant pals. Now that I’ve gotten them halfway back into their caves, I’ve started thinking about how to stay creative when I’m sick. When deadlines start moaning because it looks like I may not meet them. When unpaid bills and undone chores begin growing horns and making increasingly scary noises. When the words in my brain stick together like swollen, overcooked pasta.

Then I remembered that a camel is a walking sand dune.

camel shadow

It’s a metaphor exercise I developed for myself during a period of intense busy-ness that had me nearly crying with my inability to find time for creativity. In order to calm myself down, I decided I could take FIVE MINUTES before bed every night for creativity.

Here’s what I did: I carried a small notebook with me, and during the day, I would jot down a few items, like “music blasting from a passing car,” “ocean waves,” “a black cat,” “a waterfall.”

Then, in those five minutes before bed, I would create metaphors for some of the things I’d written:

Music blasting from a passing car is a 30-second parade.

Waves are arpeggios on the ocean.black cat in garden

A black cat is a soft shadow.

A waterfall is long hair falling down a woman’s back.

I find this a wonderful exercise, because it sparks my creative imagination even when I have only a couple of tired minutes. And some of the metaphors I’ve created in these stolen moments have found their way into my stories and essays. I still keep a small notebook with starter items always ready to be turned into metaphors.

I’m going to begin issuing small writing challenges here. These will be geared toward the concept of this blog—that creativity can take place in tiny found moments—so none of them should take very long.

For this first challenge, write a metaphor/metaphors like the ones I’ve discussed here.  Post your answers in the Tiny Packages section of the Readers’ Sandbox.  I’ve left some starter items there, or you can come up with your own.


DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Ways for Writers to Stay Creative During the Busy Holiday Season

  1. Redefine your idea of creativity. If you don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.
  2. Use a tape recorder to write bits of dialogue and scenes while driving to and from errands.
  3. Write in the shower.
  4. If you’re working on a larger project — a novel, a screenplay or even a short story — take five or 10 minutes before bed every night to write the next paragraph or just the next sentence.  You’ll keep your momentum going even when you don’t have much time.
  5. Carry a few index cards with you wherever you go and make the commitment to fill one with something creative every day when you can find a few minutes.
  6. Write a prompt on an index card for each day you expect to be busy, and commit to freewriting for 10 minutes using that prompt.
  7. Enjoy some non-writing creativity. Make interesting holiday decorations, cards and presents. It all stimulates the muse!
  8. Schedule a writing appointment or two for yourself during the holidays. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Then go somewhere away from the madness of your life and keep that date.
  9. Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her. You can find an example here.
  10. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

And the last word: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write as much as you planned. Enjoy your holidays and start fresh in the new year.


DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Creativity Time Management

I’m on vacation for a few days, so I’m offering one of my most popular posts:

Most creative people struggle with finding time to let our muses soar and still meet all our work, family and life responsibilities. I’ve tried so many different ways of organizing my schedule over the years. But what I always come back to, both when I worked in an office and with freelancing at home, is putting my creativity first. Doing something creative before I start writing for my clients, or paying bills or tweeting.

I found that getting up an hour earlier and writing first thing worked best for me when I had to commute downtown. Now that I freelance at home, I divide my work day into three blocks: creativity first, urgent work second and everything else third. These blocks can expand and contract depending on the day. On a busy deadline day, I may only spend 15 minutes journaling or sketching before getting to my freelance writing work. If I’ve just met a deadline and don’t have another one breathing down my neck, I may spend half a day on my writing. (Love those days!) I also make a point of sprinkling moments of self-care throughout my weeks: yoga, meditation, walks, 10-minute crazy-dancing breaks when I need them.

I don’t always succeed in organizing my day this way, but I often do. And I find the “Creativity First” model is the only schedule that keeps my creative mojo flowing. What works for you?

For some wonderful insights and advice on this topic, download Mark McGuinness’s free e-book, Time Management for Creative People. I highly recommend it.



Download a Free E-Book! Click on the Cover Below for your Creative Bursts Workbook

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About Sandy Ackers

Sandy

Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

To learn more about Sandy, click here: About Sandy

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Click here to read the post discussing my relationship with my somewhat pesky male muse.

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Copyright © 2009-2017 Sandy Ackers. All rights reserved, with the following exceptions:

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