by Jenny Hansen
You know those perfect writing days, where you float to the page with your creativity on overdrive, and the words just flow? Yeah, me either. I wish I did, but I schlep to the desk and throw myself into the writing seat like everyone else.
What DOES kick that creative keister to The Chair? How DO you channel your inner creative badass?
My Go-To Badassery Tools
Caffeine helps. At the very least it buffs things up with a serious adrenaline turbo-charge for my creative self.
Learning is amazeballs. Blogs like WITS, where you can learn and chat with others, help. Learning a language, or just reading about a topic you've always wanted to know.
Exercising clears the brain. Walking, dancing, working out. They all clear out the cobwebs and help me focus.
After you do one or more of these things, you go to your writing space and...
- You stare at your page/scene/chapter.
- You write a little or a lot.
- You erase a little or a lot.
- You browse social media.
- You clean the house.
[I totally made that up about cleaning the house.]
What it really takes.
Creative Badasses thrive on routine. And deadlines. If you've trained yourself, usually through routine, and have the discipline (or a deadline), you will get after that creative endeavor you dream of.
You've already done the hard part -- the most important part -- you've gotten your butt into that chair in front of your computer. Perhaps you aren't feeling the joy that day, but you're in the game. You're doing the work, and that's important.
Meet a Creative Badass
My friend, Walter Trout, is a very successful musician. He loves music and performing, and he adores interacting with his fans so he's had to really work for it during this pandemic. He awes me with his power to sit down and do the work.
This man has put out an album every year for 20+ years. Every. Single. Year. Even during the time a few years ago when he was hospitalized with end-stage liver disease, waiting for a transplant.
So, frame that in your head. This guy almost died. He had to fight like a Trojan to get an album done before he was too weak to hold a guitar. Then, after a successful liver transplant (thank God), he had to do PT for almost a year to be strong enough to play his guitar and perform again. He's one of the best guitar players in the world, and he had to relearn to play the guitar.
His post-hospitalization album, Battle Scars, reflected the dark experience he'd just survived. Like all of us, he brought his journey to the page or, in his case, the musical score.
Read: An article summarizing Walter's amazing story.
One day, several years back, I asked him about his creative process. (He's a true Creative Badass, and enquiring minds wanted to know.)
Me: You’ve made an album a year for twenty years now. What is the creative process that allows you to do that?
Walter smiled at me, a benevolent cozy smile that made me feel better about bringing work to our Saturday night of fun. And then he said, “I don’t really know.”
Me: “WHAT? That’s it? Come on! I thought this music business was different than being a writer. That’s exactly what all my writer pals would say.”
He looked at his wife, Marie, who is a major force in his success, and said, “Well she books the studio each year and tells me about three weeks beforehand that I need to write fifteen songs.”
She and I exchanged an eye-roll and I said, “There’s got to be more to it than that.”
Walter: "Jen, every year when it’s time to record a new album, I feel like I’ve done it already and those are all the songs I have to write."
He paused a moment and added, "Then I’ll hear my mother’s voice in my head, like she’s right there talking to me: 'Walter, you said you wanted to be a musician; it was what you trained for and practiced at. It was the only thing you EVER wanted. So, get off your a$$ and write some music, and quit crying about it.'"
And he does, every single year.
Don't you want to put the writer's version of that Memo from Mom above YOUR computer screen for those really crappy days?
You want to be a writer.
It’s all you’ve EVER wanted to be.
It’s what you spend all this time on,
training and practicing your craft.
Get off your a$$ and write your page
and QUIT CRYING ABOUT IT.
I'm gonna paste it up somewhere prominent. Who's with me??
What helps you bolster your creativity and channel your inner Creative Badass? Do you ever feel like you just can’t write another word? What has helped you bust through this fear and get to the other side? Tell us all about it down in the comments!
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By day, Jenny provides corporate communications and LinkedIn advice for professional services firms. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction, and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.