My goal for this year is to clear away the clutter that has accumulated in my life, both external and internal. I want to free up plenty of room in my home and in my thoughts for cultivating peace, beauty, and joy. I don’t need dusty old junk taking up space in my home, and I don’t need depressing negative thoughts taking up space in my head either. All that stuff has to go!
Looking back over my blog entries at the year’s halfway point, I see that I’ve posted much more often recently. I feel that the work I’ve done toward de-cluttering both my environment and my thoughts has made space for creative energy to come out and play! More often now, ideas pop into my head for future posts, and I jot them down without feeling obligated to follow through with any particular one.
In the past when I kept a page of notes about things I had in mind to write, I felt a sense of pressure. It was like looking at a to-do list. The fewer items on the list at any given time, the more pressure there was. In the back of my mind, I worried that I might run out of ideas or that it might take forever to turn any of them into worthwhile entries. To some extent, I’m sure that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t fully trust that there would be more ideas where they came from. I also didn’t fully appreciate that a blog is mainly just supposed to be FUN.
Now my thoughts are flowing much more smoothly—or at least, I am having an easier time composing everyday life and stream-of-consciousness posts. I don’t know why I haven’t been writing much fiction, though. When I started this blog, I planned to post a well-balanced mix of stories and essays on the general theme of modern life. Before that I’d been posting stories to creative writers’ private lists, whose members gave me good constructive feedback, and writing nonfiction articles for various projects. A blog combining both types of writing seemed like a natural progression; but this year, for whatever reason, there hasn’t been much fiction coming to mind.
The conventional advice would be to set aside some time every day for writing stories, even if I didn’t feel inspired. As with any other activity, regular practice would help with getting back in the flow. I haven’t done it, though, because I feel as if there ought to be some other approach that does not require turning my fiction into a daily chore. Yes, keeping to a regular schedule improves focus, both in writing and in other areas of life—but all too often, people force themselves to do something and it just feels like drudgery. By way of comparison, we all know people who run on a treadmill regularly and hate it, but they never take the time to try other kinds of exercise that they might actually enjoy. Put simply, I want to be more creative when it comes to nurturing my creativity. I want to invite abundant energy into my life, so that the stories spontaneously bubble over. And I feel that I’d benefit from looking at it in the same way as finding the right physical exercise—that is, experiment with different ways of going about it, and discover what brings me the most joy.
Have you ever had a time when writing prose seemed easy, but you just couldn’t get your fiction flowing? If so, how did you deal with it?
Edited on July 4: On reflection, I suspect I’m overthinking it. I probably should just do the same as with the nonfiction posts—that is, write down ideas for stories as they come to mind, without putting pressure on myself to complete them in any particular order.