Towards the end of 2016, I decided that I was going to step it up in terms of content sharing. I was going to write at least one blog post and one newsletter every. single. week. Because that’s what “successful” business owners are “supposed” to do, right?
I did this for three months and was mostly okay with the editorial calendar I had so excitedly defined for myself. Things were going out on time and I began to see even more interaction and discussion within the Rowan Made community.
But then, I started to experience more writing blocks, where the words or ideas I wanted to share just weren’t flowing. This annoyed the hell out of my ego and flared up unnecessary bits of anxiety that I’d rather keep at bay. And because my word for 2017 happens to be flow, I decided to listen.
Now, if something isn’t working and I find myself getting frustrated, I’ll stop. Sometimes even mid-sentence. Old Bre would have pushed through in hopes of checking off a to do list, but New Bre realizes that nothing meaningful comes out of force.
And editorial calendars, in their own way, do just that. They force you to do a handful of things by a particular date as they continue to repeat themselves over and over again. I realize that this is an amazing guidance in accountability for some. But for me, the accompanied negativity was no longer proving to be worth it.
Sure, I could have simplified my editorial calendar. But still, I knew that force would have found it’s way back into my routine and made me feel not-so-great once again. So I quit my editorial calendar and opted to look at content creation in a new light. Now, I’m ONLY writing whenever it feels right. Or whenever I feel up to it. Because if I’m creating from that kind of space, the words I want to say literally flow right out.
In fact, sometimes I’ll go back to whatever it is that I wrote and not even remember writing them in the first place.
Weird, huh? You’re like so freaked out right now. You’re like running for the door. It’s okay, you can go. Don’t feel bad. It’s really … Garden State reference, anyone?
Seriously, though. Creativity does not derive from force. It comes when we least expect it, when we’re jiving with the world and feeling inspired to go out and create. So why not lean into that?
Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This kind of mindset is exactly what I’m talking about. If you force creativity, it’s going to take you the full six hours to complete whatever it is that you started. But if you take the first four hours to tap into feeling good and getting inspired, it’s only going to take you two hours to complete whatever it is that you started. And I can guarantee that the results will be ten times better.
Even though I no longer have an editorial calendar, I’m still posting regularly on Tuesdays (blog) and Thursdays (newsletter), because I do enjoy having some semblance of a routine. The big difference is that if I happen to NOT have anything for a particular week, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
Long story short, my message here is simple: to give yourself grace.
Our lives are full enough as it is with deadlines and goals and work and family and the last thing we need to do is feel forced under our own hand. Instead, I’d encourage you to practice compassion for yourself. Once and for all.
If playing the piano fills you up, take 20 minutes and give it a go. If going for a walk helps clear your head, then by all means, get up and do it. Even if it’s just to the water cooler wherever you happen to work. Finding little bits of peace and joy, the very things that help fuel our creativity, are easier than you may think. So next time you’re feeling frustrated about something, stop, drop, and (insert something that gives you joy here). ♡
Please note: This post was originally published in the Rowan Made newsletter on March 16th, 2017. If you like what you see, you can join us every week right here. There are no opt-in promises or fancy worksheets on the other side. Just me, being honest with you.