Here are some ways I’m trying to protect my creative side:
- I am in constant contact with both my critique partners and my debut group, The Class of 2k12. Both encourage me when I flounder and bolster me when I need support. Some of them have calmly told me again and again that they believe in what I write. When we can’t muster the strength to see our own talent, it is so good to have people whose belief in us we can borrow.
- For the sake of my creative health, I’ve decided that reading the School Library Journal blog, Heavy Medal, is something that doesn’t nourish me right now. As I watch people who love children’s literature analyze books I admire (in a professional, respectful, invigorating way), I’m finding I doubt my abilities more and more. No book is perfect. I know this to be true. But seeing the “faults” of books well-executed while I’m drafting my own new, unformed work is enough to make me think I’ll never produce anything of substance, depth, or worth.
- I need to extend to my writing the room to grow in a safe environment. For me, I’m learning it’s a place free of chatter and analysis and comparison. It’s a place my friend Val says needs to be quiet enough “to hear that small voice inside trying to remind you that you are doing something important, something special, something worthwhile. And that small voice is the voice you need to hear loudest right now, the one you need to be listening to. During the creation process, kick everyone else out of the room. Tell the critics, your editor or agent, the readers, the doubters to leave, kick them all out of the room and be alone with your story. You and the story. That’s all there is right now. That’s all that matters.”
What have you learned to avoid or embrace to foster your creativity?