Friday, January 27, 2012

Long-range thinking about the writing life

In the course I just finished with Eric Maisel, he closed the last session with a discussion of the long haul of the creative life. Most of us get stuck, often quite pleasantly, in the current project. That becomes our focus. How do we complete this book? this series of paintings? this album of songs? We're concentrating on this tree in the forest of our creative lives.

Maisel encourages us to frequently and regularly step back and look at that forest. What is our body of work? And what do we want it to be? These questions concern both quantity and quality. Here are some things to consider:

1. Do you keep a notebook or other file for new ideas? Subjects, themes, ideas, characters? Do you visit that file frequently?
2.Do you pencil in time to just sit with your imagination and doodle?
3.Do you know what your next project will be, even if you have just started this one?
4. Do you need additional skills? Are you on the lookout for ways to get them?
5. Do you read widely in your field and in other fields (or visit galleries or listen to music)?
6. Do you have a plan (evolving, flexible) for your body of work?
7. Do you regularly think about what success might mean for you?
8. Do you keep up with what's going on in your marketplace and how those changes might affect you in the long run?

For these are conversations about the long run, about living fully into your life as a creative. Just something to consider.