The 'secret' to getting creative work done and chasing your dreams
When I first started writing, at a very young age, I was obsessed by how other writers achieved success. What writing habits did they adopt? Where did they write? Did they type or hand write? How did they map their novels? What kind of pen were they using? I thought this knowledge was the secret to my own writing success. If only I could find something that sounded like it could work like me. If I kept researching their habits, reading interviews and trying to uncover their secrets, then I could achieve the same success. Or I could get out of my writer’s block (oh, the irony). Either way, I thought it was a bit of a magic hack to the success that I wanted to happen.
It took me years to work out that was bollocks.
(Hopefully you get that the title was ironic!)
But it didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt like the way to go about things. I thought I was doing the sensible thing. I thought it would make me feel more inspired and keen to get on with my own work.
It didn’t. It blocked me like a toilet at Glastonbury.
I was copying all these things famous authors were doing, but they weren’t working.
New pen. Check
New notebook. Check
Wake up early and write. Check
Wake up late and write. Check.
Attempt to plot novels on napkins. Nearly.
I was SO obsessed with having a routine and word count that I was writing a grand total of jack shit.
And when I did have an idea, I would obsess over whether it could work to the point that in my head the idea turned into this ridiculous thing that was never going to work out.
I didn’t write for a long time.
I bought new notebooks, like I could purchase hope and inspiration in cold hard cash. After the first page, they lay completely empty. A beautiful reminder of my inability to believe in myself.
That was until I started this blog. I didn’t even think about the fact that I was writing. I just let words tumble out onto the laptop, in a way that made sense to me.
I started to think more about life, and write about what I saw. I had so much to say that I knew someone needed to hear other than me.
And I left that world of authorship, obsessing and watching other writers become successful. Instead, I started to focus on what needed to come out of me. Because SHIT was there a lot of stuff.
And along the line I realised something.
There is no hack. There is no special habit or routine. There is no one way of going about it. JK Rowling started out just like me and you. An urge to put her shit into the world.
So there is no hack. But there is a difference.
And that lies in actually getting on with it and doing the work.
Maybe that's the big secret.
The problem with looking to other highly successful creatives is that we don’t see the unpublished works. We don’t see the really bad first drafts. We don’t see the amount of paper or documents that got sent to the trash can.
And we don’t realise that they’re just doing something that they found works for them. They got to a point where they too were able to block off the noise and just do the work.
And they worked fucking hard.
To borrow the words of Macklemore:
The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint,
The greats were great cause they paint a lot
And when we look to other people, we get so sucked into what works for them that we completely forget what works for us.
And whether we realise it or not yet, we know a lot about what works for us.
Have a look at the following questions and you’ll be surprised that you know more than you think about what works for you
What time of the day do you feel more inspired?
What do you feel the urge to do? It doesn’t have to make sense
What motivates you?
Why do you want to do the work/create what you want?
Do you like typing or handwriting ideas?
Do you work better with music?
Does the environment make a difference to you? If so, what helps?
You have all the answers inside you. But first of all, it starts with doing the work and turning down the noise; the noise of what everyone else is doing, what they’re achieving, what their process looks like. Everything.
Focus on you.
Part of being a trailblazer is doing things because they make sense to you.
Start with that.
Whether you own an online business, design stationary, write books or want to do you own thing, whatever that looks like, what can you do RIGHT NOW to reduce the noise and listen to yourself?