093 – Getting Creative In The New Year

Happy New Year! If you haven’t quite settled into your new routine (or your old routine) yet, and want to get creative, this is the episode for you

Also, I’m inviting feedback on the questions of

-What you do to get yourself to your desk

-What routines/practices you use to start work

Call and leave me a message, and I might air your question/comment on the podcast: 484 393 2233

Please leave a name, and a brief message, or just email me at julie at storyaday dot org


Happy New Year! It is 2018.

We’re all coming to our writing life with our New Year’s Resolutions in hand. We’re all full of new ideas about what we’re going to do right this year. If you’re like me, you’ve gone through some goal setting exercises; you’ve analyzed what did and didn’t work last year and you’ve started January 1 with this burst of optimism…

…It’s Jan 10. How’s it going?


I’ve done some writing — some things have gone right — but I have to say I’m not feeling the fresh start. Part of that is because winter is horrible. It’s out to get me.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but I’m in the northeast of the US, it’s shockingly cold. People from Michigan are probably laughing at me, but I’m not used to this in Pennsylvania. It’s COLD!

My kids have been back of school, supposedly, but only two of those days have been full days. I’ve been woken up early by calls about late openings and snow days. I’ve gone and picked them up from school, which is not what I normally do. (I’m a horrible mother who usually says “walk home, its only a mile and you won’t melt in the rain’. The last couple of week I’ve been picking them up because they weather men keep saying things like ‘frostbite in ten minutes’ and it seems a little harsh.) My afternoons have been curtailed and I get to go out and be annoyed by the rude people in the school car line, and then feel bad about myself. Then I sit in more traffic trying to get out of the school. I find the whole experience irritating.

These are petty First World Problems, and I know that…and none of that helps with my creativity.

Why am I telling you this self-pitying story?

I’m trying to figure out why inspire of all my best efforts—no, my good intentions—I have not been rushing to my computer and spinning fantasies and words and building worlds and having dreams and just pounding the keyboard and getting tons of work done. I haven’t got back into my routine yet.

Most of us have had some kind of disruption over the past month or two and it can be difficult to get back into your creative zone. So here’s some of the things I’m thinking about.

Coming Up On Future Podcasts

I’m thinking about going back to my goal-setting work that I tried to do in December. I’m thinking about the emotional connections to the goals I set. Which I’ll talk about that stuff on the next podcast. Then, I’ll talk about the day-to-day things I’m trying, and that you might be trying, to get back to writing.

Even if you have unlimited time it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get work done. I often find that when I have less time I get more done.

We all need to build habits that propel us into our work day and we’ll talk about that in the next couple of weeks.

We fail all the time and failure is a wonderful teacher (I’ve been watching the new Star Wars film, can you tell?). But it is obvious, if you look around the world, that the people who succeed are those who fail and get back up. So, the third thing I’m going to talk about over the next few weeks is this idea of ‘if/then’ tricks to help you reset.

We all have great intentions and we have goals and we have habits we know we should be doing. Still, we fall down, things happen, we get derailed. In this moments, it can be very useful to have an ‘if/then’ contingency plan ready.

e.g. If I don’t do my work today, then I will meditate before writing tomorrow and write 1.5 as many words as I am supposed to…

Your Feedback

I would love to hear from you about your experiences. What you do to get yourself excited about your work. What you do on a daily basis to transition from person in the real world to person creating a fantasy world. How do you get yourself from being a functioning human adult in every day society into the temporary insanity that is your make believe world?

I”m not even ready talk yet about writing technique. This is just about habits that you use to get yourself into what John Cleese calls ‘the open mode’, what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow state”, and what you do to forgive yourself for your mistakes.

If you’d like to provide some feedback, call and leave a message: 484 393 2233 or email julie at storyaday.org


Word Salad [https://storyaday.org/write-on-wednesday-word-salad/]

Use this silly prompt to write a quick & dirty story, and break any writing blocks you might be harboring.



Another new episode of Write Every Day, Not “Some Day”

7 thoughts on “093 – Getting Creative In The New Year”

  1. During Story-A-Day, I’m energized, I’m focused, and I’m able to get a hundred things done. Then that unravels during the rest of the year. Until I end up feeling like I do today–like I’m never going to make writing career happen.

    Coming back here and catching up on the podcasts is helping.

    1. I’m so glad it’s helping. I’m trying to be more consistent!

      I know that ‘never going to make it’ feeling. I have found that upping my connection with other writers (in person, when possible) is helpful, as well as setting goals for myself. I’ve found the SWAGr posts good for keeping me honest about what I’m achieving. It’s like a mini-new-years every month! (And of course, I feel I HAVE to post, since I’m hosting it. If you want me to hunt you down for your commitments every month, I WILL!).

      This year I set a my theme for my writing life as: Go Pro. It’s not so much about what I can bring in $$$-wise, as it is about cultivating that mindset, taking it seriously and being consistent in pursuing the goal.

      Hope some of this helps.

  2. I have also set up a fortnightly ‘Backside Glue’ writing group to meet at local library. Bum on seat, minimal chat, get stuck in to your project. After 2 hours, option of lunch. We’ve just had the first one, and I finished a short story that’s been lurking around for a couple of weeks.

      1. I made it very clear that I was simply convening the space. Come or not. I’m not teaching anything, offering anything beyond a date and a place, or guiding anyone. You don’t need my permission to commit this dedicated time to your writing. Show up, get to work, pass the occasional remark, but otherwise regard me as invisible. This is not a workshop situation. So far, it’s worked.

  3. I make dates with myself on my wall planner. Pink hearts and everything. That way, my subconscious can get to work, and the whole family can see I’ve that time picked out. I don’t have a desk, so they’ve had to learn that me sitting in my bed, the couch, on the floor, with computer, or pen and paper, or simply staring into space, is ‘disturb only if you wish pain’ time.

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