A creative block prevents you from engaging in your creativity. These blocks can be thoughts (I don’t have enough time, I’m not really creative, Nothing I create is worth anything anyway), or they can be material (too much clutter, too many distractions). A couple years ago when I first started becoming aware of my creative blocks, I would have told you hands-down my biggest creative block was the television. “Down-time” in the evening meant watching T.V. and since this was really my only free-time of the day, it was easy to let writing fall by the wayside. I didn’t “have time” to write. Now that I’ve realized how much precious creative time I was throwing down the drain (not to mention yoga time and reading time), T.V. is not an issue for me. I love one show and one show only – Gossip Girl! What’s not to love about a scandalous group of social elites living it up in the Upper East Side? Thankfully, this show goes on these sporadic and extended breaks so it’s not a regular part of my existence. My husband and I do watch 1 movie a week together – but this is something we love doing as a couple and it’s been a ritual for us since we got together. I say that makes it OK.
Unglueing myself from the boob tube felt great and surprisingly the withdrawal was relatively painless. But now, NOW, a bigger monster threatens to take over…social media! Facebook and Twitter – two seemingly harmless cousins who can get together and create a lot of mischief and wreak havoc on my writing schedule.
Other bloggers will empathize with me about the need to unplug and how daunting the task can be. To have a successful blog, you need to spend a lot of time in social media and on the internet, in general. Reading other people’s blogs, commenting on them, replying to those fabulous comments you receive on your blog, promoting your book/blog/workshop, networking with others in your industry…these are all part of your work day and yet it is so easy to get carried away.
The other day, I found a great link posted by one of my tweeps on Twitter, clicked on it and read the article. At the end of the article was the website of the author. Click! I read a post, then another and then another on their blog. One of the posts had another link. Click! Next thing I knew, almost an hour had gone by and I hadn’t even started my own writing! That’s a lot of time out the window when the most substantial, consecutive time you have to write in a day is the two hours your daughter is in preschool every morning!
Not to say I didn’t learn anything through those clicks. There is a tonne of information out there, so many fascinating articles and blogs on personal development and writing. How lucky I am that this is actually part of my work! But I can see it now. It is so much easier to flit about the internet than to hunker down and crank out that piece of short non-fiction you plan to submit in a week!
So, it looks like I am going to have to find that fine balance that works for me. Does anyone have pointers? My first instinct is to schedule in social media time and then forget that it exists the rest of the time. What do YOU do that helps?