As an author, as well as a copywriter and blogger, much of my time is spent creating content, and writing novels. In the past, I have found it difficult to walk that delicate line between consuming other peoples’ content, and creating my own. Here are some tips that I have found useful:
Creation is one of the greatest things as a content creator, and author. When I dive into writing, I feel immersed in the world I’m creating on the page (or screen). I find inspiration in as many things as possible around me – so much so, that I’ve written an entire series on inspiration in writing!
When I’ve spent the morning writing, instead of feeling exhausted and spent, I feel excited and invigorated – often I have to stop myself, and take a break, or I’ll start to feel almost jittery. When I do stop, that invigorated feeling dissipates into a warm contentedness. It’s as though writing is some strange sort of high, that doesn’t beat you up when you come down off of it. Those days when I get to feel both invigorated and content, I know I’m supposed to be writing. That feeling reminds me that I love the process, not just the product.
I try to write for at least two hours a day. If I’m still feeling immersed and focused at the two hour mark, I’ll let myself keep writing. But I do make sure that I write for at least an hour a day. Waiting for inspiration to strike is not an option for me – and the best thing I ever did for myself as a writer is learn that writing is a discipline. I need to show up every day, and write every single day.
While I try to ensure that most of my time is spent creating, (roughly 70% of my time), I also find it very helpful to my own writing, to consume great work, by interesting people.
Consumption of other people’s work can be wonderful. It is often inspiring, and enlightening to encounter the ideas of others. I like to make time and space to actively consume works of fiction, and non-fiction, through art, and music and theatre, and travel. I’ve written in great detail about ‘refilling your creative tanks‘!
But there is a dark side to consumption as well, and I think it has to do with the quality of what I consume. While I like to read fiction, and watch good television for enjoyment, I also spend a lot of time reading articles online – articles about writing, marketing, website creation etc… And much of it is great! But not all of it.
I have to be careful about how much time I allow myself to consume this kind of content. Sometimes in the past, if I wasn’t careful, I would fall into a rabbit hole of consumption, clicking link after link, reading article after article, until my brow was furrowed, a tension headache had started, and I began to feel overwhelmed, and over-saturated, until finally, I would rip myself free, with what I imagine to be a noise like a plunger evacuating a clogged toilet. Always, after these ‘incidents,’ let’s call them, I would feel awful; I would be drained, and exhausted, and just done.
It wasn’t a good feeling, so I made a decision to limit the way in which I consume. I try to read works of fiction for half an hour every evening before I go to bed. I read fiction on the weekends for at least an hour. I limit my time reading articles online to 15 minutes in the morning, lunch, and evening, and I aim to read one ‘business book’ every two weeks. I also strive to be considering in the quality of content I consume – no longer wasting my precious time on articles that are just trying to get me to spend time on their website, or books I don’t enjoy.
How do you balance consumption versus creation? Tell me in the comments below!
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