Volume 1, Issue #13
April 28, 2021
The last year has been exceptionally stressful for everyone in the world. Our “regular” lives were turned upside down practically overnight. Things we thought we controlled — well, it turned out, we didn’t, particularly.
Unfortunately, while small amounts of stress, like deadlines can boost our creativity, chronic stress is a creativity destroyer.
I found this out, painfully, after my job melted down in 2009 and I started trying to carve out a freelance writing career for myself.
What can you do if your creativity is suffering because of stress?
Robert Epstein, PhD, author of The Big Book of Creativity Games , recommends strengthening four skills:
- Capture new ideas
- Seek out challenging tasks
- Broaden your knowledge
- Surround yourself with interesting things and people
Find these and other recommendations from experts in The Science of Creativity on the American Psychological Association website.
And in fact, this list points to why this past year has been so difficult — the only way to “surround yourself with interesting things and people” has been via the internet. Which doesn’t really meet our human need for connection with other living, breathing humans in interesting locations.
David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, lists six steps to unleashing creativity. I especially like #5 and #6 — “Stop working on a problem that you fail to solve. The non-conscious has the resources of the milky way,” and “If you’re having a problem, switch to doing something else and let the non-conscious do the work.”
Last but by no means least, allowing your creativity to flow requires you to take care of yourself.
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Get into the sunshine every day you possibly can
- Exercise in nature – walk, hike, swim, ski, whatever.
- Take time every day to do nothing
- And, from the above-cited article, “manage your energy, not your time.” (I think this one’s absolutely brilliant!)
Do you have a technique you use to encourage your creative flow? I’d love to hear it — share in the Comments below, or send me an email.
Tips & Tools
“Creative” isn’t the same as “disorganized hot mess. . .”
Being creative doesn’t mean you have to be a disorganized hot mess. In fact, with a little planning and organization, you can free yourself up to be even more creative (and to have more time for your creative efforts).
Joanna Penn is a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and she also teaches other writers over at her website, The Creative Penn.
In this interview, she talks about her author business plan. Very instructive!
I’ve talked about planners before — in fact, Kitty and I did an entire podcast on them a while back. Planners can be as individual as the people using them.
Now Crello, my go-to tool for creating images, has added a schedule planner format to help you create your own planner.
Check out the blog, and then give Crello a try if you haven’t yet!
25 tools for freelance writers
Here’s a great list of tools for freelance writers.
All of these will help you maintain your creativity and your business while you work from anywhere. Author Carol Tice is a well established freelance writer, and she also teaches people to become successful freelance writers.
I’ve used many of them myself — I’m a particular fan of #1 (which has been updated and improved since this article was written!), #3, and #10, although I’m not fond of #16.
Don’t read this if you’re not a professional creative. . .
Speaking of writing tools and planning. . . here’s some excellent advice from Hilary Barnett at No Sidebar.
She looked at the ways professional creatives get work done, and came up with 8 things successful creatives do, and then came up with suggestions to make those work for you.
“There is creative power in noticing the little things,” she notes. But before you can notice them you need to life your eyes from your computer screen and step back. . .
A digital nomad visa for Costa Rica?
Is Costa Rica about to jump on the digital nomad visa bandwagon?
Maybe. . .
The powers that be are currently reviewing a new law which would allow remote workers to stay in the country for a year, with the option to renew for a second year.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. That means, if you click and purchase, you pay exactly the same amount and I’ll earn a small commission. These fees help me to keep the free information flowing.
In Case You Missed It. . .
Are you a good juggler? I’m not. . .
I’m not talking about what you see this guy doing here, which I don’t do at all (although my brother teaches juggling and other circus entertainment skills).
I’m talking about life. That balancing act you have to do, which is sometimes harder than at other times.
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