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How to Set and Meet Effective Creative Intentions for your Writing and Self-publishing in 2017

Cover page of an illuminated calendar

Creatively welcoming 2017 – the beautiful calendar produced by the calligraphy group run by my 84-year-old father

At this time of year, lots of indie authors are setting their creative intentions – a subtly different concept to making new year resolutions, which tend to be more self-punitive, negative statements rather than positive can-do goals.

This post will help you:

  • cultivate constructive creative intentions
  • fulfil them consistently
  • take a fresh look at the practicalities of your writing process

Creative Intentions

Creative intentions are all about establishing long-term habits, rather than setting over-ambitious goals that you know you’re likely to give up on before January is out.

Perfect reading on this topic is Orna Ross’s perennial piece on how creative intentions differ from new year’s resolutions.

There’s also this great post by Jay Artale, making her personal response to an episode of Orna’s Go Creative! podcast, chatting with Dan Blank about setting good creative habits:

Writing: Setting Good Creative Habits from Orna Ross’s Go Creative! Show

Consistent Productivity

It’s all about consistency too. Check out Mark McGuinness‘s post from our October Indie Author Fringe event:

Productivity for Authors – How to Write and Publish Often And Well: Mark McGuinness

And sometimes it’s just about allowing yourself the opportunity to step back from your busy writing life to see what’s working and what’s not. As the New Year beds down, it’s a great time to think “out with the old, in with the new”, recognising and ditching any system or method that’s past its sell-by date and experimenting with something

Case Study of a New Writing Practice

I’d been used to pounding out my daily dose of words on the PC at my desk. As I work from home, I also associate this PC with pretty much every other kind of writing-related task, from processing emails to social media sharing and compiling my tax return. Yes, all that exciting stuff.

Although I had ambitious self-imposed writing targets hanging over me, in the dreary dark days of December, settling down at my computer wasn’t alluring, and the writing simply wasn’t getting done. I was also physically very tired, convalescing from a minor and benign surgical procedure at the end of November, and needed a bit of a lift.

 

Photo of keyboard with lots of letters rubbed off

The worn-out state of my keyboard seemed like a symbol of my creative exhaustion

It would have been easy to admit defeat and write December off (ho ho) – but instead I decided that for my present circumstances, old technology might work where the digital world wouldn’t reach.

Like most writers, I’ve always loved beautiful notebooks (my preference is for spiral-bound hardback A4 size with quirky covers), and it’s these that I write in when I go on holiday, off grid in our camper van.

I also recently rediscovered a kind of writing implement that I remember being invented back in my schooldays, when it seemed revolutionary and wild – the felt-tip Tempo pen! I picked up a set at a bargain price on a whim one day a few months back, thinking I might use them for adult colouring books, but had hardly touched them since. Then I realised I could brighten my mood by writing in their cheerful colours instead of boring old black or blue ballpen.

Picture of notebook with fun caption and a cheerful pot of colourful felt tip pens.

Putting colour and fun back into my daily writing goal with fancy pens and a funky notebook – not the electronic kind. Notice too other fun items that live on my desk to keep my spirits up – Tintin’s Snowy dog and a beaded angel from South Africa, a gift from fellow writer Karen Lotter.

Giving myself permission to lounge on my bed with my holiday-style notebook and fancy felt-tips, instead of sitting formal and upright at my desk, was enough to coax those words from within. By the time the Christmas holiday and my convalecent period were over, I was onto my third notebook, and way over my target daily word count.

Polishing the Process with Digital Tools

Yes, I’ve still got to type those words in to the PC before I can turn them into a proper manuscript for editing and production, but I’ll simply dictate them in to Scrivener via Dragon one day when my creative brain needs a rest. That’s the easy bit.

I’m not saying this method is revolutionary, or some holy grail of writing productivity or that it’ll work for me forever, but I do know that in the current circumstances, only by turning my back on what I thought was the most efficient use of my writing time, I discovered a whole new method that’s worked for me here and now. Perhaps there’s something out there that’s the equivalent for you? Have fun experimenting to find out!

OVER TO YOU What advice has most helped you establish a regular, consistent flow of writing productivity? Please share your top tips!

How to set and meet your creative intentions for your writing in 2017 - by @DebbieYoungBN Click To Tweet

 

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3 Responses to How to Set and Meet Effective Creative Intentions for your Writing and Self-publishing in 2017

  1. Karen Myers January 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    I may explore setting up a digital version of a Bullet Journal in OneNote. Most of my ToDoist list is related to my writing/publishing business, and it overwhelms lesser arrangements.

  2. Jay Artale January 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    I was never a shoes or bags kind of girl. But put me in a shop that sells notebooks … and I’m happy! My preference is for soft-cover, A5 notebooks. I love the Miquelrius wirebound notebook. I usually use the 6-subject version (with six subsections with a different colour), but it also comes in an 8-subject version. http://www.birdsofafeatherpress.com/notebook-travel-guide/

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