When life gets hectic, getting your creative writing done seems impossible. Inspiration might be knocking, but the house is so full, you’re not sure you can open the door and let it in. How can you keep writing?
What if all you need is sixty seconds?
We all have responsibilities to fulfill and obligations to meet. We’ve got bills to pay, jobs to do, children to care for, and pets to play with. The lawn has to be mowed, garbage taken out, laundry done, dishes cleaned; the list goes on and on and on.
How Do We Find Time for Creative Writing?
Our writing happens when the muse is happily seducing our imaginations — when new worlds magically appear on the page and fictional characters seem more real than some of the people we know in our day-to-day lives.
Creative writing is one of those pursuits that, for many people, is a dream. Like music, dance, acting, and art, it seems unattainable. Like athletics, entrepreneurship, and leadership, it seems meant only for the chosen few. Every day a writer is born. And every day, a writer gives up, overwhelmed by all the things in life that require time, energy, and attention.
Every day, another blog is abandoned, another novel shelved, another poem left unfinished. “I just don’t have time anymore,” a writer says, then deletes a file that was going to be the next great American novel, or crumples up a poem, which would have inspired the next great world leader, and throws it in the trash.
Don’t Give Up
What if Stephen King had stopped writing after receiving his first rejection? What if George Lucas had given up on his groundbreaking film? What if the Beatles hadn’t taken a chance on that new sound everyone was calling rock and roll? What kind of world would we be living in?
I almost gave up on my creative writing. For several years, I rarely wrote, other than the writing I had to do for work, which was technical or business writing. It was only by sheer luck that the company I worked for closed, forcing me to find some other path, and only by an odd combination of chance, drive, and a willingness to take risks did I return to my writing.
And I’m willing to take the dream a little further, do a little more. Whether it’s this year, next year, or in five years, the dream is mine, and I’m not giving up on it.
Neither should you.
If you don’t have time to write, then make time.
You don’t have to sit down and write ten pages a day. In five minutes, you can jot down a few paragraphs. In fifteen, you can run off a page. Some days, you’ll get lucky and be able to steal an hour or two. Other days, you’ll have to crunch just to get a couple of minutes.
All that matters is that you keep writing, no matter what.
A Little Tiny Writing Exercise
A few years ago, I came across this website called One Word. It’s one of those sites you save and then forget about but rediscover every few years when you’re cleaning out your bookmarks. Every time I visit, I use it (because it’s interactive), and by the time I leave, which is maybe a minute and a half later, I feel strangely refreshed and revitalized.
One Word gives you just that — one word. Then it gives you something else. It gives you time. You get sixty seconds to write whatever you want, inspired by that single word, that gift.
It doesn’t sound like much, but every time I’ve visited that site and cranked out a minute’s worth of words, I’ve always felt good when I finished, like my right brain just got a little massage and the rest of my body is thanking me for it. And whether it’s been hours or days since I last took time to work on my own creative writing, One Word always reminds me that my passions need to have a priority in my life.
It’s a lot like the way I feel when I hear an inspiring, uplifting speech that motivates and moves me, except at this site, the words aren’t someone else’s; they’re mine. Well, except for that one.
Feed Your Soul
Here’s the thing about creativity: it is food for the soul. It’s the one thing that has a guaranteed return on investment. The more creativity you spend, the better you feel, the more creative you become, and more nourished is your spirit.
People like us need to feed the fire to keep the passion burning. Giving up on your creative writing isn’t an option because if we give up, we dry up. When you feed your right brain, your whole body benefits, and when you feed the fire that is your passion, your whole life and everyone in it reaps the rewards.
So make some time, take some time, to write. Go to OneWord.com and write for just a minute (surely you can spare sixty seconds — how about right now?) or close all those tabs on your browser and open up your word processing software — turn off the computer and pick up your journal — and just write.
And then keep writing.
I do think creativity is a phenomenal tradition, and I will go to one word. Thanks.
It does feel damn good! I love to write and read posts such as this one. I feel inspired just reading it… but not inspired enough to go to OneWord.com… yet :-)(it’s 1:30 am). I just finished working on an upcoming article and am getting caught up on making a few rounds too. Thanks for sharing about OneWord. I will definitely check it out.
I go to OneWord every now and then. Somedays it becomes addictive, other days I’m done after one word.
After too many years of personal blogging, everything starts with I. I’m trying to change that with little success.
Wow, thank you. Thank you for the article, thank you for the link to oneword. I haven’t written for months, I feel like the dying man in the desert who was just presented with a glass of iced water.
@Davina, I love reading inspiring posts, but I have a hard time writing them because sometimes I read them back and they’re cheesy. I’m starting to think that’s just me being hard on myself, so I thought I’d put it out there. I’m really glad that it inspired you. That inspires me again. And that’s why inspiration and creativity are the gifts that keep on giving!
@Writer Dad, I hope you come back and tell us how you liked One Word!
@Samar, I hear you on that! Blogging is so conversational, that “I” definitely creeps in. It’s something that I definitely try to watch out for. Although here I am doing it in this comment. Grr.
@d0t, No, thank YOU! Wow, your words really filled my heart with cotton candy. I will try to make lots more iced water for you. And in a few months, when winter sets in, we’ll switch to hot chocolate!
Oh…Melissa, today is a perfect example. I am fighting with my computer…ALL DAY LONG…I had a creative inspired idea this MORNING…but a techie fight with a big box is no way to stay inspired.
I win…I wrote anyway. It’s 4:59 and I just got done. But somedays it’s more about perserverence then inspiration.
Somedays its about being stubborn.
Your timing is on point and I’m so glad I ran into your blog a month or so ago because as a writer I feel it has helped me so much. Not just with writing, but being linked to other writers who share a similar passion of writing words.
The other on-pointness about this post in particular is the fact I actually took this weekend off to specifically get away from it all and just write. I’m also testing out the fluffiness of this hotel bed and using their free internet, but overall, I’m here on a mission.
OneWord was awesome too. I had “wanting” which started to turn into a poem and I had a hard time focusing my thoughts due to all the things I’d want. But still, it was great, so I thank you and I thank you for this blog.
No doubt you’ll hear about the reports and results of my “writing wretreat” as I like to call it.
Quite often, I find myself writing in my head…for weeks I’ll carve out something incredible…and then it only takes a few minutes or so to write it down. I don’t know how it happens, but I love it when it does.
I went to One Word and did it. Here is my One minute exercise on wanting.
Thanks! That was a lot of fun!
I want to find the sky in the depths of the ocean. I want to find the sun in a forest of trees. I want to find a diamond shining out from the gravel of pebbles at my feet.
I want you. I don’t know where to find you. You have been in my dreams and I see you in my imagination, but I can’t find you in the mud that is my world.
Good post and especially about all those things that “get in the way” of our writing. I’ve got some of those obligations this weekend, but I intend to get some writing done, too. One way or another…
I was just reading through the comment you wrote to Davina and I feel like butting in with my 2 cents, so I hope that is OK.
You inspire me all the time!
And if I never hit the publish button every time I thought something I was writing was cheesy, silly, trite,or not all that important, there would be NO Life’s Little Inspirations! I never think…Gee, I’m writing something really inspiring today.
Nor did I just think..Gosh I just wrote a really great One minute poem..let’s go show off…
You just write, you let the universe take what it needs to hear from it. We are the vessels not the interpreters and you are an awesome vessel and inspire me ALL the TIME!I’m SO Glad you wrote this post. You get me fired up about writing all the time. You bring the FUN back into it.
@Wendi, yep, I can think of a few nights when one a.m. rolled around and I still hadn’t written a blog post, but I persevered and stayed up even later to get a post done. Being stubborn can be good at times.
@t. sterling, thanks so much for your kind words. My goal for this blog is to inspire and motivate writers and bring together a community of writers from all walks, so your comment really makes me feel good. Funny, when I went to One Word the other day, I had wanting too.
@Matthew, and that is what keeps me up at night: writing in my head. Ugh. Sometimes it just won’t be quiet and let me sleep. And some of the best stuff always comes to me when I’m just too tired to get up and take notes. But I’m with you. When you do the writing in your head, while you’re doing other things, it makes the actual writing part go much more quickly.
@Wendi, wow, that is really touching and impressive. I think you have the beginning of a poem there, and a very good poem at that. Thanks for sharing your One Word entry. I feel like you validated my idea that in just sixty seconds we can produce something beautiful and creative.
@Scott, I’m going to have that Blondie song in my head all day. “One way or another, I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha…” Okay, I’ll stop now. Anyway, sometimes we have to squeeze our writing in around those obligations, and that’s okay, as long as we do it!
@Wendi, You’re going to make me cry. See, look at that, there goes a tear. *sniff sniff* That’s okay, I’ve been teary-eyed all weekend watching inspiring speeches on TV. Thank you so so much for being supportive. I am just grateful that we found each other and inspire each other. That is a wonderful gift. And I will try to be less judgmental of my own cheesiness. Heheh.
Here, here! Another great post. Creativity is happiness.
One Word sounds interesting, will check it out.
Hi Melissa – I’m struggling with my novel – but when you put it like that, it would be madness not to keep going. Thank you. I’ll definitely check out one word.
I’m a rebel who is also very good at following directions. 🙂 One word rocks! It is amazing how simply pouring out words in sixty seconds can flex your creative muscles and give you a window into your psyche. There is no time to think so you are left with 60 seconds of truth. Very revealing. Thank you Melissa for the post and the site. You are truly a wonderful writer and teacher.
@Jaden, One Word is a fun little distraction. Creativity is definitely happiness!
@Cath, it certainly would be madness not to keep going. For me, it would be madness not to get started, heheh.
@Karen, that’s what I thought! I was like, wow, that one word and those sixty seconds just changed my whole day. Pretty cool, eh? Thank you so much! I’m all blushing now. *shuffles feet*
@Everybody, all these comments inspire me to keep on trying…to inspire, to share, to be a part of this wonderful writing community that we’ve all built with bits and bytes. I sure feel lucky and grateful for each and every one of you.
Ok, I tried it, I went to One Word and my word was Delay. It was kidn of funny, just as I got really into it, my time was out. I wished I had more, but even so, it was kind of inspiring that I could easily write with just a single word to inspire it!
Thank you for the tidbit of information. Next time I can’t think of what I want to write or what to do a post on, I may just go to One Word!
@Jenny, I guess if you’re really getting into your One Word, then you could carry it over to a journal or open a Word file and just keep going. I think it would be fun to try this exercise with different time limits so that would be one way of doing that.
And, am I the only one channeling “Finding Forrester” while reading this post? “Pound the keys!”
…I just love that movie.
@–Deb, I know I watched that movie but I absolutely cannot remember what it was about. Hm. Guess I’ll have to watch it again, because I do seem to remember that I liked it. Strange, because usually I have a good movie memory.
@–Deb, Finding Forrester is the reason why I wear my socks inside out. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the reason Forrester actually says… But I’ve been wearing my socks that way ever since.
It’s also just a good movie that I need to watch again soon.
Thank you for this inspiring and motivating article. Texts like this one always helps me to find the way back to myself whenever I get lost and have forgotten what — I — really want.
@Winfried, thank you for reading and commenting. I’m always looking for new ways to stay grounded, things that will bring me back to what I really want, and I’m glad this article was able to do that for you.
I like to use photos as writing prompts, and I post a new photo prompt on my blog every Monday, if anyone wants to use them.
Thanks, Icy. Those photos are great!
visited oneword just now & tried it – it IS fun 🙂 thanx
Yep, it’s a good one.
Thanks for sharing One Word, I went, I wrote and I signed up! I loved the idea of writing for just 60 secs and I will be a regular visitor from now on. 🙂
Thanks, Helen. One Word is definitely an excellent little resource for a quick writing exercise, and it is a lot of fun too.
I feel like asking what exactly is creative writing. I’ve heard of it enough but the idea of creative writing is not really clear to me. Anyone can help me with that? 🙂
Hi Sajib! I wrote an article addressing your question, which you can find here: What is Creative Writing? Hope that helps.
Thankyou for sharing the One Word concept, great challenge idea and the limited time forces you to avoid planning and thinking too hard, you just do it,!
Thanks, Margaret. I adore the One Word challenge. It’s great fun!
Thanks! What perfect timing! I needed a bit of inspiration to back into things and this article and the one word site definitely helped! Thanks Melissa!!
You’re welcome, Holly. Good luck with your writing!
I really liked this post and I found it very inspiring. I commented on your other post earlier about things we do to improve our writing and I have to say that One Word is one of them! I haven’t been there in a while but you are absolutely right. I am glad I did not post that on my comment to enter the book contest as it would have seemed like I was just plagiarizing the idea you give in this post!
Thank you for taking the time to share such inspiring words that will make many of us make that time to do what we really like.
One Word is a great little website! It would have been fine to mention it in your comment on the book contest…no worries!
Thank you for the words of peppy wisdom. I have definitely been struggling with finding the time (and ideas) to start writing again, and I have found just doing some little “flash fictions” has started to help. A fragment of an idea pops into my head and I just start writing. It doesn’t have to have a destination, nor does it need a substantial plot; so long as I’m writing, I’m doing what I need to do to make myself happy and improve my creativity.
I agree! The most important thing is to write something every day, even if you can only spend a few minutes on it. Meanwhile, keep looking for ways to fit longer writing sessions into your schedule. Good luck to you.
I understand. I find it difficult to get the time to write but tend to enjoy it when I can. Good article. Thanks.