Use Discipline to Cultivate the Creative Flow
Discipline vs Creativity OR Discipline and Creativity?
Discipline is often thought to be the opposite of creativity. The reality, however, is that the right kinds of discipline can help spur on creativity in new and exciting ways.
Often, I speak with aspiring authors and one thing that many of them have in common is that they tend to wait until inspiration hits before they sit down to write. They want the internal muse to start singing and dancing before they create the art. I’m not speaking poorly of anyone. I remember going through that phase myself.
I also talk with lot of published authors, some of whom are extremely successful and I can’t think of a single one who waits for a wave of inspiration.
What do the published authors have in common?
They all have a set writing schedule that they adhere to. They have either found the time that best fits their schedule or they make their schedule fit around their best time of day to write. However they do it, they make sure that it happens.
Creating art doesn’t just happen.
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In my case, the best time for me to write is when everyone else is sleeping. It’s dark, it’s quiet, and I’m able to work without interruption. So I write between the hours of 4-6am. And no, I’m not a morning person. But I’ve trained myself to wake up early and start writing. The first thing that I started doing was setting my alarm five minutes earlier each day. The thrill of writing so many words each day keeps me getting up early six days a week.
Success inspires more success.
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Published authors prepare before writing. No matter what type of art you create, you must prepare yourself. If you’re going to throw a pot on a wheel, you don’t sit down at the wheel hoping that clay will hop on and form into a vessel. You first need to prepare the wheel, grab some clay, throw on an apron, and plan out what you’re going to make.
Writing is the same way. Even the most talented writer who sits down in front of blank page (or screen) will have trouble typing out words with no groundwork laid.
The authors who write the most words per day swear by plotting—outlining, writing story beats, or whatever you want to call it. My personal method, which has me writing 1,000 words per half hour at my fastest to date, is to write a very rough outline for the entire novel before I write a single word.
Then each day, when I’m done with my daily writing, I jot down a couple paragraphs about what I need to write during my next writing session. In my case, a couple of paragraphs is more than enough for me get out 2,000 words. The process is different for everyone. Some writers outline one sentence per every hundred words they write.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you figure out what works best for you.
Learning about your craft is important. Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to? I don’t want to reinvent anything! I want to spend my time creating. It’s an exciting time that we live in: Information is at our fingertips, and it takes little to no effort or cost to learn something new every day.
Message Boards or Groups
Joining a group of your peers – or those who are where you want to be – is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge! Do a google search for message boards on your topic of interest or search for Facebook groups. Use your imagination and soon you’ll be sitting at the feet of people who are making a living at what you dream of doing.
Do you know how many experts and professionals give away information on daily basis? A lot of them! Start searching or asking around and follow some prominent bloggers. Get their email notifications and follow their advice. You can sign up for updates from Positive Writer in the sidebar to your right, or below.
Another great way to learn about becoming more productive in your creativity is to listen to podcasts. Reading words on the screen is not the only way to learn. We all learn through more than one of our senses, so hearing about your craft can make a deeper impact on what you learn.
You can also learn in different settings. I love listening to podcasts while I’m in the fresh air, throwing the ball for my dog. Being outside opens up our senses and can help us learn more easily. If I worked outside the home, I know that I would use my commute time for listening to podcasts. Be creative – that’s the point, isn’t it?
If you’ve been to college, you know how expensive education can be. I graduated over a decade ago and I’m still paying off those debts. An online course is nowhere near the cost and you can learn so much from them. If you’re a writer, I highly recommend Tribe Writers and Story Cartel.
I’d love to hear from you.
What are your thoughts on discipline and the creative process? Have you tried it? Was it effective? If you haven’t given it a try, do you think that it’s holding you back? Share in the comments.
About Stacy Claflin
I've been writing and telling stories as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble when I would try to convince other kids that my stories were real. When I'm not busy writing, I spend a lot of time with my family. I run a preschool from home and homeschool my kids. I’m the author of The Transformed Series and my blog StacyClaflin.com. Connect with me on Facecbook and Twitter.