Creative Challenges

I have learned to accept that my writing tends to ebb and flow. In an ideal world, I would diligently write every day or most days at least, and if I didn’t write then I would edit or research or plan the next writing project. There are times when I can be disciplined around my writing, then other times life crowds its way in and a day or two slips by, then a week. I have to scratch my head to think about when I last wrote something in a creative sense.

A few weeks ago I listened to a podcast interview with author Hedley Derenzie. Derenzie had been in a very dark place and had attempted suicide when feeling overwhelmed with grief, loneliness and disconnection. Her road to recovery was long and difficult, but one of her lifelines was a return to her creative path. Derenzie is a writer, but writing had not been a consistent presence in her life for some time. In a moment of inspiration, Derenzie committed to writing 2,000 words a day for a month. There were rules around this commitment, including the need for the day’s writing to be inspired from the events in the previous 24 hours which in turn encouraged reengagement with the world during her creative pilgrimage.

I have just started reading Write Way Home: Writing My Way Back To A Meaningful Life. This is the result of not only that month of writing and experiences, but reflections on what reengagement with creativity can mean. And it isn’t necessarily just for writers; Derenzie encourages connecting with those creative outlets which we love, but which tend to fall by the wayside when life gets busy, or when it is realised that they will not result in employment or income generation. It isn’t the outcome that matters here, it is the action and that sense of joy and engagement that creativity brings to each of us.

About a month ago I decided that I would write 250 words a day. This is my minimum goal and it can be in any format. It can be a personal piece, something creative or a blog post. The words can be a continuation of a story in progress or something entirely new. It isn’t the output that is important, it is the activity. It is early days, and I didn’t have an end date in mind, but I wanted to see if I could keep up what feels like a small commitment to write each day. So far, I’ve made it, even if it is sometimes the last thing I do before I call it a day. And I do feel more engaged, and my mind is finding a creative rhythm of sorts.

Do you set yourself creative challenges?

[Photo: close up of some creative craft adorning a tree in front of St Hilda’s Church at Katoomba]

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5 thoughts on “Creative Challenges

  1. I see we two struggle with the same problem. Writing is a demanding and challenging discipline. I think it is a good idea to set a minimum standard for your goals in writing. 250 words appears to be obtainable. Also be patient with yourself. There always moments where your personal life just does not allow you to write on a certain day. Good luck and best wishes! Peter

    • Thank you, Peter, for your kind words. I think we all find our own way and rhythm, and the daily goal is helping me now but I may be doing something quite different in a month’s time. It pays to be flexible when it comes to creativity! Good look to you too with your writing.

  2. Thanks for this piece. There is so much advice for writers out there that basically stipulates that a ‘true writer’ must write everyday. I have spits and spurts with writing and other creative pursuits. I don’t punish myself for not being obsessed about writing everyday.

    • I appreciate your comments, Sean. There isn’t a right way with creative pursuits, and you are wise not to punish yourself if there isn’t daily output. Sometimes those times inbetween are just as important for gathering inspiration for when the time is right to write again. I wish you all the best with your writing.

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