It’s a new year, full of promise…too much promise, perhaps?
A new year can feel like that beautiful notebook someone gave you as a gift: full of potential, unspoiled…too good to mess up with your messy handwriting and half-baked ideas.
(Be honest: How many beautiful blank books do you have on your shelves just waiting for the day when you have a project worthy of their quality?)
The Curse Of Perfectionism
After all the hoopla of New Year and the endless year-end review/goal setting articles flooding the web, the new year can arrive with stakes that feel ridiculously high.
So, if you’re having trouble deciding what to write this week you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with that urge to get things right. First time. This time.
But…the truth is, creativity isn’t about getting things right. It’s about making new things, which usually involves a bit of mess-making.
In Praise of the Mess
What if you were to write something —anything—that was simply fun, for you? What if you didn’t worry if it was any good? What if you decided not to judge yourself if you didn’t finish it? What if you slowed down and worked on it a little bit, adding a few words every other day?
What if you decided to give the beautiful notebook life, by chicken scratching your half-baked ideas all over its pages?
What if, instead of worrying about writing something good, you just let yourself write something?
Treasure in the “Trash”
This week on Twitter, writer Faith Bougham wrote:
“Every morning now with my coffee, instead of scrolling on my phone, I write 300-500 words on my trash fantasy novel. It is JUST FOR ME. It is a project to learn, experiment, process things, go completely off the rails, whatever I want. Zero expectations.
it is SO DAMN LIBERATING”
Can you feel the relief?
The Mood-Lifter Project
Peyton Ellas, a member of the StoryADay Superstars group, started a story, a Western, just for fun. Leaning into the tropes and going over the top was point. Peyton told me, “when I felt discouraged or overwhelmed about writing or life, working on that story lifted my mood.”
I almost hesitate to mention this part, but: That story was just published.
I’m not sure it would have been, had Peyton focused on “getting it published” instead of “having a blast writing it”.
With Faith and Peyton methodology, our goal of being “successful writers” is in our own power, long before anyone else is involved in the process. we can be happy writers, playing like kids in a sandbox and sometimes making something other people enjoy too.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Do you want some of that success in your writing life?
Why not start your own “trash project” and have a blast getting messy in its mud-puddles?
I won’t tell anyone, and you don’t have to, either.
Let’s have some fun this week.
Need a little direction? Here are some resources and ideas
Or write something that’s hilarious to you
(Bonus points for doing both at the same time)
(Consider writing something over the top, like Peyton did.)
Having trouble getting the words to flow? Get the StoryADay Guide to Breaking Writers’ Block ebook