I’ve often heard the expression that things come in their own time. I’m not always the most patient of people. Lady Wafflenose (my inner critic) takes this to the next level. She has a schedule, and she expects my creativity to reach maximum velocity at specific intervals and make stops at all the right stations precisely on time. A few days ago, I realized I (she) was beating myself up over the fact that my new project, a 20,000 word sci-fi romance novella, wasn’t completely mapped out and I hadn’t figured out all the scenes for the story yet and all the characters and their motivations. The idea had come to me less than 48 hours before.
What. The. Hell.
Creativity doesn’t run on a schedule. Thinking as hard as I possibly can in an effort to squeeze ideas out of my brain is not productive. And berating myself for the fact that ideas aren’t coming to me faster only makes things worse. The best I can hope for is to set up a routine of writing every day and give myself experiences that support, nurture, and foster creativity. A walk in a park, a trip to a museum, watching clouds slide across a blue spring sky, laughing with friends.
This doesn’t mean I don’t do the work. Of course I do the work. Writing is work. Amazing, fun, frustrating, and magical work. The only control I can exert over time is how much I spend in the chair, hands on the keyboard or paper and pencil. And that time is the most important of all. The more I let my brain, my body, my soul know that this is the work I need to be doing, the more ideas will bubble to the surface. That time in the chair smooths the way for ideas to come for the current project and all that will come after. When my creativity knows that it’s welcome in my life, that I’m making room for it, then the ideas will come more freely. And in the meantime, I can practice developing my patience as well.