“Creative potential” is such a frightening and jargon-y word, isn’t it? But here’s what it comes down to:
Developing writing habits can be bad
Okay. Let’s stop and rewind here. I’ve talked about why knowing your default writing mode increases your productivity. I’ve told you how to set up your own writing habit. And those are still true. But.
Sometimes we cling to our habits so hard we hurt ourselves and our progress.
Having a habit is good, but sticking to your habit without experimentation and flexibility is bad
I used to think I could only write fiction in the evening or late at night, but then I wrote in the morning and realized I could do that too. It wasn’t the time of day that mattered; it was the likelihood of being interrupted. As long as I retreat to my writing cave and hole up, I can write any time I want to.
If you tell yourself, “I can only write when…” you box yourself into a writing corner. The truth is, you can write under many circumstances as long as you tell yourself you can.
(To that end, I could tell myself, “You can write when other people are around” and it’s only my beliefs that stop—or help—me.)
Circumstances don’t dictate when you write—you do
You can believe the stars must be aligned just so for you to write, or you can force the stars to do your bidding and write whenever you can fit it into your schedule and for however long you have, even if it’s 10 minutes.
Shoving yourself into boxes (“I can only write in the morning” boxes or the “I can only write when I have an idea” boxes) won’t lead to any kind of creativity or productivity. It will, however, probably lead you into more frustration and struggling.
Or even worse, it’ll lead to talking about writing, and no writing. “I’ll write tomorrow morning.” No, you won’t. Because tomorrow morning you’ll say, “I can’t write when I’m not inspired!” and nothing will ever happen. Except more “I will when…” statements.
If you’re going to say, “I can only write when…” complete it with “I can only write when I decide to stop listening to my excuses and boxes”
Rip open your box. Check out other ones. Don’t get locked into one writing habit for the rest of your life—your writing will suffer for it.