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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Today I Make Time to Write!

smiley panic canstockphoto5676109 (2)Claudia and I are nearly at the end of “Weddingarama.” We fly out tomorrow morning to celebrate a milestone birthday for my mom and to attend the last of six weddings in eight weeks (these last three weddings in three weeks).

It is an honor it is to witness the most important day of our friends’ and family members’ lives. But I’ll be honest, there have been moments of urgency-induced panic.

Like this morning when I realized I needed to write a blog post today. Drafting a post can be quick, but fiddling with the format, graphics, links, tags, etc. is time-consuming. “I have to write a blog post” wrestled with “I want to work on my novel.”

What’s most important to me as a writer today is working on my novel. So instead of fighting with myself or reacting with panic, I found a creative alternative: I’m giving most of my Product Time (aka writing time) to my novel. I’m curtailing the time spent on this blog by re-running a post that dovetails with last week’s post. I hope you find this post as useful as I did when I re-read it this morning.

Panic Is the Death of Creativity

When you think “I’ve got to figure this out NOW or something awful is going to happen,” your chances of coming up with a unique solution are minimal. You’ll come up with something — it just won’t be something creative. (more about the brain science of why waiting to the last minute destroys creativity)

On the other hand, Seth Godin points out that a complete absence of urgency is just as deadly for innovation.

He writes that one of “…the two warning signs of the person in the grip of the resistance” is the thought “‘I can take my time…”’

Godin emphasizes, “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.”

What kinds of things do you panic about? What writing tasks do you delay until you get an adrenaline rush to get you through? When and where do you need to slow down, relax and give yourself space and time to play with possibilities?

What kinds of things do you lack urgency about? What writing projects have you delayed because you have plenty of time to “get around to it someday”? When and where do “you just need to decide” and take action?

How can give yourself enough, but not too much, urgency?

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2 Comments on “Today I Make Time to Write!”

  1. Marion Stella Wittenbreer September 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    Congratulations on having the honor to be a guest in so many important events. And I understand the urgency that they can create by taking so much time from writing.

    Thank you for reposting this blog. It is an important blog for me at this time because I have been fighting the opposite urge. That is the urge to give up on a script. I have wondered if I had too much urge and not enough ability.
    I have imagined that my husband and other friends were thinking the same thing.

    I have felt so bogged down by “the muddle in the middle” that I wondered if I should give it up all together and go on to some other project. For some reason I just refused to give up on the project having put so much time into research. I knew if i gave it up at this time I would forget too much of the research to be able to go back to it. Now I feel like the shear stubbornness (pigheadedness?) is beginning to pay off.

    Was this the right thing to do at this time?
    I don’t have an answer only that I am a writer and writers must write. As E E Cummings said, (this is a paraphrase) “A poet, a writer, a failure must proceed. Not succeed. If success comes well and good. But I must proceed.” This has given me comfort in the last six months. And a viable script. there is still more to do but I am seeing the end of the tunnel–for now!


    • rosannebane September 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Thanks Marion for taking time to share your experience! I’m so glad you kept on keeping on. Congratulations! A viable script is a big accomplishment — I hope you have or will celebrate the milestone.
      And thank you for sharing the EE Cummings quote.
      If you’d be interested in writing more (500 to 900 words or so) about how you overcame the resistance that bogged you down in the middle of the middle, I’d love to publish it as a guest post. Email me at rosanne @ rosannebane.com if you’re willing to share your story — I’m confident other readers will benefit from it.


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