Creativity – When Focus Becomes Constraint
Creativity – as some readers will know I started November full of commitment to the Nanowrimo challenge and writing the first draft of my third novel with at least 50,000 words completed in one month.
Out I set with the work I had already done; the story arc, the settings, the characters etc.
For the first week or so all went well and I had the “right” number of words to report each day against my title.
By the second week I was starting to flag a little and meeting the commitment was hard alongside my other work. But I was still hitting, and usually exceeding, the target every day. I kept going!
At the end of the third week nature took a hand. I came down with some relatively minor illness. But it meant I had to stop. And stopping meant I could take stock.
Creativity – when you need to stop!
I was focussed so hard on meeting the target that I was no longer actually enjoying the process of writing. Perhaps even worse than that, what I was writing wasn’t very good and nor do I think it was very interesting. If I didn’t actually feel engaged with my hero – how were my readers going to feel?
Now I do believe setting goals is a good approach to creative writing as with anything else in life. I believe in measuring progress towards those goals. But they do need to be appropriate to the task. And they do need to become your own goals, not someone else’s, to be really successful.
I believe as well that if you wish to let your creative juices flow, there can be a time when focus becomes a constraint and you need to set yourself free.