Your True North – Goal-Setting for the New Year

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

Many people, myself included, are setting some sort of goals or intentions for this year. As we look at all the things we want to change in our lives, it’s easy, in the rush of enthusiasm and optimism of the New Year, to overdo our ambitions. Or to think that we should. That word, should, is a telling one. When I set goals for myself (or help other people with theirs), I first write down everything I’d like to do differently this year. I usually put them under larger umbrella categories, like “Health” or “Creativity.” I just get it all …

“Brutal” Truths About Creativity?

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

I winced a little at the word “brutal” in the title. Creativity, it seems to me, is not best served boot-camp style. But the tone of the article is positive overall, and I agreed with its points. All of us are born creative. Some use our creativity more than others. Some give up at the first hint of “failure” i.e. when the world responds with a yawn or a criticism. And that is what is brutal about creativity, in my mind: that often, we’re just doing it for ourselves, because even what we truly hope will resonate with people doesn’t …

A Little Creativity Each Day

janav Creativity, Writing 2 Comments

I came across this article the other day: Feeling Down? Scientists Say Cooking and Baking Could Help You Feel Better. It was the subtitle that caught my attention: A little creativity each day goes a long way. The article touts the benefits of the sustained burst of creativity in cooking a meal or baking something, and the effect of focusing and immersing yourself, similar to meditation. The writer of the article is referring to the the concept of flow, a state where you are so absorbed in what you’re doing that the outside world falls away, and you are fully …

The Power of Awe

janav Creativity, Writing 0 Comments

Check out my article in the latest edition of Creativity Calling, the newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association! I’ve talked about awe in our lives before, but this is an expanded version of earlier thoughts on the subject – needed now more than ever, I think.

What Writers Can Learn From Dancers

janav Writing 0 Comments

Writers, who live so much in their heads, can also learn from the physical expression of dance. Writers need to move, to get the blood and ideas flowing. When the words are stuck, try moving the body. It doesn’t matter if you’re “good” or not. Just expressing your creativity through a more physical medium can loosen your mind as well as your body. After all, our minds and bodies are connected. So feel free to just dance in your living room, or wherever you can. And don’t worry about whether you’re producing high or low art, in your writing or …

Friday Favorites: No Plot? No Problem!

janav Friday Favorites, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

From preparation, gaining allies, figuring out your physical space, creating incentives, getting food… and actually getting through the 1,667 words per day, and dealing with the mid-month slog and other challenges (illness, lack of support, sudden time crunches), this book takes you through the entire month of novel-writing drama. I highly recommend reading it before NaNoWriMo, so you can appropriately prepare. You can, of course, just show up on Day 1 and start writing, but knowing about and planning for the inevitable setbacks and challenges will help you keep to your goal. I like the just do it! approach, and …

Friday Favorites – Boston Book Festival

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This week heralded the controversial decision to award a Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan. Some applauded the idea, others found it strange or felt it was wrong to award it to a popular musician, no matter how influential as a songwriter. Part of the consternation that greeted the Nobel announcement stems from the fear that literary culture is already shrinking. There are so many great writers who do important, powerful work, in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, that standing up for Literature in the classical sense is seen as an important way of celebrating literature itself – as opposed …

Prepping For the Big One

janav Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

The gist is that in order to hit 50,000 words, you need to write 1667 words per day. This is a lot, to be sure, but a do-able goal, especially if you take advantage of the supports offered by the NaNoWriMo organization – forums, local groups, online inspiration, etc. Confession: I’ve never actually done NaNoWriMo, mainly because I always seem to be in the middle of a book when it comes around, and one of the precepts is that you must be starting something new. I do applaud it, however, in the sense that it keeps you writing for one …

Three Lessons to Keep You Going When You’re Stuck

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

]I met with my alumni writer’s group this past weekend. I almost didn’t go. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with other life stuff lately, and had a To Do list a mile long. I didn’t meet my goals of finishing the draft of my novel before our next meeting. My heart wasn’t in it. But then at the last minute I decided to go, and I’m glad I did. Community is incredibly important for writers, and creatives of all kinds. Some of us work collaboratively, but most of us, especially early in our careers, work alone. Since we’re often not making …

Stop the Waiting Game

janav Productivity, Time Management, Writing 0 Comments

“But,” we say, “what’s the point of writing at all, when it won’t be my best because I: get distracted/don’t have time to go deep/am tired/don’t know what to write/etc.” Don’t wait. Find fifteen minutes, somewhere. It may not seem like enough, but it is, in fact, better than nothing. Fifteen minutes per day adds up to almost 2 hours per week. (Why not throw in a half hour, just to round it out to 2?) I often say, it’s better to commit to a tiny amount than just wait and hope you’ll feel inspired to do a bigger chunk …