Happy Holidays! My gift to you is a three-part sneak peek at summaries of the Three Recommended Habits: Process, Product Time and Self-care. This information is usually available only to my students and coaching clients on a password-protected page.
You can find Success Stories from writers who applied the habits and the brain science behind why the habits serve writers so effectively in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance or in my Loft classes Discover Your Way Around the Writer’s Block or WTF Is Going On in My Brain When I Want to Write But Can’t.
Process is creative play just for the sake of play. Outcomes and results are not important; one of the benefits of Process is that you learn to surrender expectations.
Stream of consciousness freewriting or journaling (or doing Morning Pages as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way) is one way to do process. Other examples are:
- making collages
- taking photos
- playing with Play-Doh or modeling clay
- making a model
- painting (oils, acrylics, watercolor or finger painting)
- drawing a mandala
- coloring in a coloring book
- fooling around with an instrument (but NOT rehearsing for a performance or recital).
Any kind of creative play that you do primarily because it’s fun, counts as Process. Any creative activity you do to achieve a specific outcome is not Process.
Of course, Process can result in some wonderful outcomes. What makes a creative activity Process is that you’re just as satisfied if the result is messy or incomplete or ugly or anything else.
If you knit because you enjoy the colors and textures of the yarn and the rhythm of working with your hands and you also happen to create scarves or mittens or whatever, that’s Process. If you knit to create products you’ll sell at a craft fair, that’s NOT Process; it’s Product Time, which we’ll discuss in the next post.
Many writers think they’re too busy to “waste time” with creative play. Let me assure you that just because you aren’t striving for a particular outcome, Process is not a waste of time. Making time for Process will give you:
- an antidote to perfectionism
- a place to surrender expectations
- hands-on experiences that engages your brain in ways that writing alone cannot
- time to allow your right-hemisphere to take the lead
- opportunities to refresh and restore your creative energy.
I recommend you do something for Process 15 to 30 minutes a day, 4 to 6 days a week. My standard Process activity is 15 minutes of coloring in a geometric design coloring book or working on a collage in the evenings, Monday thru Friday.
Find out more about the second habit, Product Time, in the next post.
Inquiry: What do you do for Process? What would you like to play around with?