From the Desk Remix! – Lots of Fish but only One Shark.

I think being creative is often the easiest part.

Generally, I have no shortage of ideas and inspiration, whether it is writing or art.

The problem comes in that they are often like a shoal of fish and I am in the middle of them.

Even sharks find grabbing hold of just one of those fish difficult.

And even if you do grab hold of one, then there are still all of the others whirling around you.

The last few days has been one of those periods where I’ve been lost in the shoal.

What am I doing? What should I be doing? Should I continue with this, or begin anew with that?

There is a lot of advice out there, I think given by people who aren’t in the actual middle of a shoal of fish!

My general way of dealing with the situation is to keep going until you hit a mini-breakdown – I am not recommending this as an actual practise by the way! – then you stop doing everything.

After a couple of days of thinking, reading, searching, prayer, listening to the voices in your head as well as the loud music, the fog begins to clear.

I am listening to Anberlin even whilst writing this.

After a couple of days of thinking, reading, searching, prayer, listening to the voices in your head as well as the loud music, the fog begins to clear.

It is probably more sensible, however, to:

  • take a step back
  • refocus on your priorities for your creative work
  • assess the projects you are currently dealing with
  • choose the one which is the most important/pulls the hardest at your creative muscles
  • set out a clear time frame for completing this one project
  • list, in order, the other projects to be completed if you decide to complete them

Stephen King recommends that, once you have finished your first draft of a novel, you place it in a drawer for at least six weeks, then revisit it, read it, and start editing.

This will work with ideas and inspiration as well.

Keep a notebook and write down all of your inspirations and ideas, but set a day/time when you will revisit the idea, and see what its impact on you is later on. This also stops you (me!) from chasing every fish in ths shoal!