Feed Your Creativity: Five Things I’m Loving

I once read an interview with a woman who said that for the first six months of the year, she reads; for the second six months, she writes. That stuck with me. Perhaps a small part of me felt relieved that published authors don’t shrivel up and float away into oblivion if they don’t make their 1,000 word count every. single. day. of. the. year–it’s okay to write by season. Still; six months reading and six months writing is regimented enough. On that schedule, it’s pretty darn possible to churn out a novel a year (if you’re into that sort of thing).

I’m thinking about my own process in that light this year. The first half of 2016 was primarily devoted to reading. I had a subconscious goal of reading 50 books by the end of June (check!). Now I’m onto my other subconscious goal (though since I’m putting it down here, it’s no longer subconscious, is it): a manuscript re-write by the end of December. Not sure if the person who inspired me with the six months/six months thing cuts off reading completely on July 1. I don’t think I could ever NOT read, but I have had a major change in focus this last month and a half. And I’ve had the help of a few trusty sidekicks to jumpstart this period of renewed creativity. Check em’!


1.) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

This book. is. REVELATORY. It’s a 12 week course which bills itself as a spiritual path to higher creativity. Really, it’s a course on how to LIVE. Each time I pick it up, I feel like I’m sitting at the feet of my very own guru. Each week features a different essay with topics for artistic recovery: of safety, integrity, abundance, connection, etc. There are “tasks” that go along with each essay, though often they feel more like play than work (for a task last week, I made a pie). Crucial to the process are Morning Pages, in which the recovering creative journals three pages every morning before doing anything else. The point is not for them to be “good.” Really, the process is more akin to doing a certain bodily function on the page–clearing out the gunk that clogs up the mind so that the artist can readjust for the day and be a conduit for creativity. Working together, the morning pages, the essays, and the artistic tasks make way for some powerful life changes. Like, it’s a little spooky sometimes. Try it.

2.) Liz Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast

This podcast airs every Friday and is a breath of fresh air (with all regards to the actual Fresh Air). If Julia Cameron of the Artist’s Way is my creativity guru, Liz Gilbert is my spunky, wise, artistic older sister. There is quite a lot of overlap between the two teachers, and it’s fun to hear Julia and Liz reinforcing whatever message I need to hear. Give this podcast a listen; my favorite is “You Have a Screaming, Not a Calling” (’twill make you smile). And for heaven’s sake; if you haven’t read Big Magic yet, DO THAT.

3.) Scrivener

Finally ponied up the 40 bucks for this amazing software. There are about nine kajillion tutorials you can find online that highlight all Scrivener can do (you can organize all your writing in one place! Amazing help with developing characters! That awesome corkboard thing-y!) It takes me way too long to learn new technology, and I abide by the rule of “learn it when you need it.” But even *I* am figuring this out, slowly but surely.

It was the corkboard thing-y that put me over the edge and convinced me to buy. I love it.

4.) This website

Just discovered this goldmine. If anyone writes MG or YA and wants to stay up on standard lengths for current titles–YOU CAN TYPE IN *ANY* MG/YA BOOK AND FIND ITS WORD COUNT! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!?

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly, published 2015: 43,308 words

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart, published 2016: 74, 157 words

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, published 2016: 33,384 words

Now you try. It’s fun.

5.) This adult coloring book.

I’ve embraced the cliche and feel no shame.

Drop me a line! What creativity tools are getting YOUR juices flowing?



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