As a writer, developing a balance between productivity and creativity is crucial. Recently I read Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. The book is chocked full of excellent advice about forming habits and learning to stick with them. The reinforcement has been extremely helpful in my effort to maintain a healthy diet.
And, just think, without a schedule, nothing would get done in a timely fashion. Basically, productivity needs structure, whether it is exercising, journaling, or performing work tasks.
The irony is, the more you schedule productive and healthy activities into your day, the less time you have for creativity. That spark of genius only comes with blocks of quiet time. This means solitude, away from the usual sensory bombardments. Without this, you are unable to relax and see the big picture.
Another important ingredient to creativity is a good mood. When your disposition is in the dumps, the analytical side of the brain takes over. How can you stay upbeat? Sleep and exercise as well as practicing gratitude and mindfulness go a long way to maintaining a positive attitude.
According to Steven Kotler, “Pressure forces the brain to focus on the details, activating the left hemisphere and blocking out that bigger picture. Worse, when pressed, we’re often stressed. We’re unhappy about the hurry, which sours our mood and further tightens our focus. Being time-strapped, then, can be kryptonite for creativity.”
One last point Kotler makes to writers is that sometimes the blank page is too blank to be useful. He recommends always knowing the beginning and the end of your book. Otherwise, your time is spent going down rabbit holes. He notes that failure to follow this mantra explains why his first novel took eleven years to complete.
So, schedule that uninterrupted time and enjoy sparks of imagination to take your writing to a new level.