Rachel H Wright


Finding Creativity

How do you make time for creativity in your life?

I’m discovering that the life of a freelancer is a busy one. But maybe not the right kind of busy. Emails, internet searches, converting various files to other formats, uploading, downloading, budget making, budget following, to-do lists, printing, adding, calling, following up, running errands, running to meetings. This doesn’t even include the actual work part, the writing itself.

I find myself passing whole days focusing on the administration stuff, only to sit up at the end of the day to realize I haven’t taken a spare second to stretch my brain and think about new things. I’m worried that I’m missing the whole reason I was so excited about being a full-time freelancer in the first place. In an effort to add more creativity to my life, I’ve come up with some possible solutions for forcing myself to make time.

1. Schedule it in. Don’t watercolor illustration or some new story ideas deserve half an hour in there somewhere?

2. Take a daily walk outside to think about new problems and ideas.

3. Coffee with friends. Sometimes scheduling a break for some conversation and caffeine can be a nice way to take your mind off the quotidian and imbue your mind with new excitement.

4. Make it a habit. Sitting down quietly with the window, a cup of tea, and no computer for a certain amount of time each morning should lead to some adventurous thinking.

5. Mood Boards? For brainstorming? I don’t know. Other people do this. It seems kind of like scrapbooking but has come to forefront as the refined and non-suburban mom form of collage.

I will work on these. Try them out in the next couple weeks and get back to you on the best solutions. In the meantime, feel free share your own techniques in the comments.


2 Responses to “Finding Creativity”

  1. Gabe Rodriguez

    I have so much to say about this struggle to balance creative momentum with the administrative grind of it all, of life itself beyond just the business side of my chosen (creative) career. It’s everything from paying the bills to anticipating problems before they happen (also read: learn from your mistakes), to balancing a budget and planning ahead for necessary career expenses so you don’t miss the opportunity boat as it sails by.

    Most importantly – for me, anyway – it’s the priority of maintaining a thriving, non-superficial social life, not like mall rats or most of the riffraff that one becomes acquainted with as life goes on and neglects to invest in. I mean a life that is rich with relationships, the kind of connections built over time that continuously cultivate broadening perspectives on a mutual level, ultimately evolving into a sharpened creative intuition The collective knowledge, experience and insight of individual minds, the ideas exchanged and editorialized by disparate opinions during conversation — for me personally, the existential and intellectual benefit of that social fabric is perhaps the backbone of my creative process, a resource I don’t take for granted but often am too caught up in my own creative work to stop and really consider.

    Thanks for throwing up the stop sign, Rachel Wrong! It was oh so right, and well-timed, it has to be said, both personally and more importantly for you, since you took the time to ask a big question and give some answers of your own right up front.

    Now, as far as Mind Boards are concerned, I have tried similar applications before with varying degrees of success, but organizing my ideas and the details that grow around them – specifically as a screenwriter, as opposed to most other forms which fall under the purview of Art rather than Craft — is essential and must be delineated in graphic form, an architecture of ideas that form each creation…OK, fine, a character arc and scene blocks glued on top with paint-by-numbers Screenwriting 101 structural guidelines demanding religious adherence, but still, it’s a structure of ideas that form a whole. When writing a screenplay, I often have literal blocks pasted on poster board taped to walls in our apartment, very Beautiful Mind, so that I have an immediate visual reference to draw upon while writing.

    Sometimes, like lately, I’ve got poster boards on four different walls, lines drawn everywhere to outline the central narrative and its subplots, which must of course resolve themselves from scene to scene before rejoining the central narrative, all those index cards with their color-coded indications affixed in place to ensure the script is structurally sound and properly characterized along the way…shit makes me look like a crazy person but it’s ironically as true a representation of creative sanity as I’ve yet discovered. In closing, because WHOA I need to close (sorry…you asked!), don’t be afraid to Mind Map the shit out of your ideas, to scrawl crazy words and phrases on butcher paper taped up to a big wall, to SEE your ideas as they develop into the completed work. Gotta go a little crazy to tap the good shit, yo!

  2. Caitlin

    Hm, actually I think my primary struggle is not coming up with the ideas, but committing them to reality, deadlines and material existence. I’ve found it important to make myself accountable to others through classes and social get togethers so I know when to put the brakes on the ideation and make the actual (in my case) piece of clothing appear.
    The creative process (for me) is not necessarily about scheduling the actual “creative” time, rather allowing myself enough time to let something happen. Spending time alone at home. Keeping my workspace easily accessible. Documenting my ideas as they come up so they are available as a toolkit when I get to working. Letting myself get bored without filling the time with other activities. Also, I find solving problems, artistic or otherwise, is done best with a combination of talking it out with the wise ones in your life, mulling this conversation over with your internal dialogue while performing a mundane task like knitting, jogging or cleaning the kitchen, taking action, evaluating and repeating. Free time is very important to me and I make certain choices in my lifestyle so I have enough of it to facilitate my complete artistic process.


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