How To Avoid The Dreaded “Creative Wedgie”

Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.

This week, I’m thinking about the vortex of creativity I’m in the middle of.

Seriously, look at what’s going on in the next month or so:

That’s a whole lot of energy swirling around!

I have no idea where it will take me so I’m just gonna dive in and see how it all plays out. I’ve found that approach works really well for me, though I have creative friends that are HORRIFIED by it.

They’re afraid that if they don’t map their creative path out in minute detail, they’ll hit a snag and be lost. And maybe they will, for a little while.

But it’s kind of like when Hubby and I go on vacation:

  • We buy the plane tickets
  • Rent a car
  • Reserve where we’ll stay
  • Take what we need to get Baby Girl to the destination
  • Depending on where it is, we reserve tickets for a big local event or hard-to-get-into restaurant for one night.

And then we relax, knowing that we’ve done all the hard work. Now we need to be open to what we find along our journey. We’ve noticed that we find the coolest  places when we get off our beaten path. (Places we’d never stumble across if we planned every moment of our trip.)

Y’all know I just did Fast Draft with a bunch of very groovy peeps! What I learned is that you have to trust the writing process. Just throw yourself into it and see where it takes you.

I’m not going to lie to you…there is a way to go backward on your creative journey. To sabotage your goals. To lose faith. I see people do it all the time, when they get frightened by the journey in front of them.

They stop moving forward.

Seriously, we’ve all done it at one point or another. Given up, because the journey was too damn scary.

The sad thing?

Usually we stop when we’re all the way to the edge of where we need to be. Like two steps away from our heart’s desire. Or three chapters from a turning point that would light our story on fire. Perhaps you are one audition away from “going to the show.”

You’ll never know if you scramble backward from the unknown.

I had this conversation on Twitter a while back (DO follow these ladies!):

Lori Ann Freeland

@brinda_berry, @gloriawrites @JenniferMEaton @jhansenwrites @YAnderson101 @jessicaaspen @sherryisaac what’s up you awesome writers?

Jennifer M EatonJennifer M Eaton‏: @GloriaWrites @lafreeland @brinda_berry @jhansenwrites @yanderson101 @jessicaaspen @sherryisaac Just don’t write backward. It hurts.
 

 

We were cracking ourselves up, and having a rip-roaring time on Twitter (I cut the NSFW portions out). But at the heart of it, we were exemplifying the WANA principle: We Are Not Alone on this crazy creative journey.

There are people who will grab your hand and help you up those last few steps if you just reach out.

I provided a lot of links in the bullet points at the top of this post, in case you don’t know where to start and want to reach out to some of my resources. I’m positive y’all have even MORE helpful places to offer down in the comments.

If you’re completely at a loss, get yourself over to WANA Tribe. You will find a helping hand there, I promise you.

Who helps keep you going on your creative journey? What organization or group gives you the most support? What lights your creative spark? Enquiring minds always  want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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56 Responses to How To Avoid The Dreaded “Creative Wedgie”

  1. It’s good that you are taking a vacation. My husband and I didn’t take a vacation until our son was 5 years old and I regret that. After that point, we “upped’ vacations on the priority list and took at least one every year. When you work hard, you deserve some time to relax and have fun!!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We’re super excited, Brinda. We’ve taken several family trips but you have to be on the baby all the time (plus she was teething like a demon and I had wicked post-partum depression the whole time).

      This time we’ll be with friends who want to steal the kid and send me away because they see me all the time. Plus, without an agenda or anyone to see, we get to just chill.🙂

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  2. Jenny, I’ve been having a hard time getting back into my groove post bar mitzvah. I have to give myself permission to just write little things right now because I’m coming off of an event thst took enormous amounts of my life blood and I’m feeling exhausted. We all are. So I’m not sure I have a creative wedgie, but sometimes I have to pay attention to my body and what it is teling me to do. I’m glad I waited to teach at WANA. Right now, I’m spent. And who wants a teacher like that?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Renee, you’ve been working like a dog for months! Take a break, sister. Read, sleep, watch your newly Bar Mitzvah’ed boy play for a week. Watch the video. Write your thank you notes. Sleep some more.

      THEN you can write. You’ll have all kinds of extra perkiness at that point.🙂

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  3. K.B. Owen says:

    That was PRACTICE??!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Well, not for “20 pages a day Ninja Mom” (aka You). But for me, writing on my WIP every day was a new practice. I write every day, but not always on my WIP and it was a huge mindset change for me. I am so grateful to y’all for walking that journey with me.

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  4. LauraDrake says:

    You girls are an inspiration! Just what I needed to launch into my writing day. Yeah, I’m late today. the alarm-cat had pity and let me sleep until 4! WAAAAY late, I know. Later, Chickies!

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  5. Julie Glover says:

    Yep, ROW80 and MyWANA have been two of the most supportive groups for me personally. Just this week, I tapped an ROW80 pal to edit my synopsis and a MyWANA pal to walk me through an agent-reponse situation. It’s awesome to feel that you have not merely colleagues but friends pulling for you to write forward–or even dragging you down that scary tunnel when needed. Thrilled to count you, Jenny, among my best peeps! My writer friends are definitely more cowbell for me!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are the ding in my cowbell too, Julie! (And I mean that in the nicest way possible.🙂 )

      Delighted to be entering another round of ROW80 with you!

      Like

  6. Marie Trout says:

    Your post cuts to the core of how we open ourselves to inspiration.

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  7. Wahoo!!! I like the way you think my friend!! I like to start lots of projects and as I go, I figure out what works and really matters to me. There’s no point in life or in creating to stand around in the corner, like a scared kid on the dance floor, watching everyone else get their moves on!

    Good on ya!

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  8. Thanks, Jenny! I’ve wondered from time to time what caused the uncomfortable feeling I couldn’t shake for a few days. Now I know it was a creative wedgie! Whodathunkit? Gotta pay more attention to my undies. Needless to say … who but you, *the Goddess of the Undie Chronicles*, would coin this phrase!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Good catch, Patricia! I’m on an Undies roll this week, I’ve just been subtle about it. There’s undies in tomorrow’s post too, and I laughed the entire time I wrote it. (Not that it takes too much to do that to me…)

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  9. Ack! I just had a mini-break through. Practice fast draft. I know this is going to sound insane, but one of the reasons I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try fast draft is because I’m a perfectionist and I don’t like to do anything until I’m sure I can succeed at it. But practice I know all about. In practice, you’re allowed to fail, pick yourself up, dust your bum off, and try again until you master it. I’m fine with practice sessions being less than perfect. (They’re also a great time to figure out what works and doesn’t work for you.) So now I really have no reason not to give a practice fast draft a try.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Marcy, I was serious when I told you I’m keeping the loop open for those who want to Fast Draft along with me, but don’t feel up to diving into Candace’s class.

      I had to ease in – it was just too frightening to me to do it full-bore the first time. I had to adjust to writing every day on my WIP first. There’s a huge psychological impact that happens when you do that.🙂

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  10. Juliana Haygert says:

    Yay for ROW80 and FastDraft! And we’re just going at it again! Woot!

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  11. Stacy Green says:

    Good for you on taking a vacation:) We all need one. Although I had a hard time actually vacationing on mine, lol. I kept thinking I should be writing or editing. Hope you enjoy it!

    And I’m jealous you’re finding conversations on Twitter. Those seem to be going by the wayside with triberr.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Stacy, are you hanging out where your peeps are in #ROW80 and #myWANA? I haven’t had any trouble finding a conversation when I put out the word that I want one. Triberr has helped that for me because now I have time to do it. I am so sorry that your experience has been different.😦

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      • Stacy Green says:

        I usually put the #row80 and #mywana hashtags on most of them, but maybe some of it is time of day. I guess I need to tweet more at night, but I’m usually out of it by then. I guess I should actually ask for a conversation instead of just asking questions:)

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          I’ve found that I get the best conversations on the weekends, and between 9-11 am PST. I also keep Twitter open to “Connect” so that I can see who has mentioned me and engage them back.

          I don’t know if that helps you at all, but Twitter makes me really, really happy. I have so much fun there.

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  12. John Holton says:

    Hey! I’m starting Fast Draft July 7 as well! I’m bringing a friend, too. See you there!

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  13. Amazing Jenny – I think having that “go with the flow and see where the journey takes me” is essentially to uncovering hiding treasures and paths you’d have never explored otherwise. Busy couple of weeks ahead but ALL good and I hope you guys have a FAB vacation. Can’t wait to hear ALL about it! Woot woot.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I agree, and you KNOW you’ll hear all about it.🙂 I’ve already got a few percolating and I can’t wait to hear what y’all come up with tomorrow. I’ve got the PANTS GAME coming your way.🙂

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  14. Beautiful Jenny! I have used countless numbers of resources in the past to tap into my creativity. The Artists Way, all kinds of inspiring books. But now I find that when I feel stuck, I just have to let go. Focus on something else completely, get some rest, and I often find that my muse is there on the other side of that “break” to greet me🙂 Fab post!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love the Artist’s Way! Actually, I completely dig Julia Cameron in general – her Sound of Paper gave me back my writing.

      We are very much looking forward to rest. Sweet, glorious rest.

      Like

  15. Emma says:

    Enjoy your holiday. It’s well deserved.

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  16. Eden says:

    I needed to read this, SO needed to read this. I’m not much of a plotter…just the basics, and I always wonder if I might be able to do things “better”, even when they feel unnatural. It’s nice to see someone who I’ve considered to be awe inspiring to be of a similar mindset on creating.

    THANK YOU! 😀

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Dang, Eden…way to make my day! I don’t feel all that awe-inspiring at the moment – just ready to lay down for three days. Your comment will give me the extra perk I need to get through all that I have to do today.

      THANK YOU back!🙂

      Like

  17. Sherry Isaac says:

    Too often, my creative spark turns into a stick of dynamite. At the other end of the fuse, a deadline. Sad to say, but that’s the truth.

    Squee on meeting Margie. Hugs!

    I on the other hand will play hostess to the one, the only, Gloria Richard. Her room is all ready. WOOT! (Please send over Margie when you’re done with her. You can come, too.)

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, Margie is coming to SoCal at the end of July and I’ll try to talk her into popping up to Canada (with me in her suitcase). If not, you’re just going to have to bring Gloria on down to the beach.🙂

      Like

  18. I had been wondering what Row80 was! And thanks to you, now I know! That sounds so much more reasonable than, yeah, checking out completely. I see so many friends start NaNo with hope and then feel worse because they didn’t make it. Goals need to stretch you, but they shouldn’t pull rug out either. And creative energy can be hit hard by perceived failure. Great idea! Wish I could do this round, but have two weeks with family and a hubby surgery in the middle of next 80. But I will be writing when I can and now that I know what it means, cheering you all on.🙂

    thanks for coming to play with us at WANAtribe. I really appreciate the advice, etc.🙂

    Like

  19. Funny about just diving in, I’m finding that I need to plot, at least a little. When I used to dive in, I got lost in tangents and it took forever to edit. Now that I give myself a map, I can dive into the actual writing and if I choose to divert, that’s fine! And I vacation like you. I hate to have too many plans. When you structure all your time, there is no time left for just siting and watching the sunset, or playing in the pool, or whatever. I’m all for taking my drink to the pool and hanging out for a while, or discovering those tangents. Just say no to writing wedgies!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, I’m a huge fan of laying out my scenes and putting them in 3-Act structure before I start. But as far as the process goes, I really feel like you need to put the basic structure in place, then let it rip.

      I laughed all day when we had that “writing wedgie” conversation.🙂

      Like

  20. Thanks for this! I love all our funny twitter conversations. Especially when I’m in the “writing cave.” You all make me smile and sometimes you make me laugh so hard I pee me pants!

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  21. Such a Jenny post! (Yep, totally mean that as a compliment. ;)) Connecting with others via social media and at conferences keep me jived, as does sitting my booty down and writing every day. Previous wedgie culprits include bad/wrong relationships and jobs/work I don’t love.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wedgie Culprits!! You are KILLING me today. Between this comment and your #wanapanties tweets, I keep bursting out with laughter.

      Thanks, August! I needed that today.🙂

      Like

  22. Piper Bayard says:

    I get energy and encouragement from anyone who shows a sincere interest in my writing. I don’t have a writing group per se. However, Kristen Lamb (my original editor/mentor/guinea pig wrangler), Donna Newton, Vicki Hinze, and Ellie Soderstrom are wonderful critiques, sounding boards and guides, and all of the friends I’ve met through WANA really help me know that I’m not on this journey alone.

    Like

  23. Piper Bayard says:

    Oops. Sorry about that premature posting of comment.

    The Fabulous Five Fest during DFW was a serious charge, too. And how do I get my creative spark going? I come here for some More Cowbell.🙂 Thanks so much, Jenny. You light up the blogosphere.

    Like

  24. Okay… I tribed up. I have no idea what I’m doing there, but I’m in. So, Now what?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh cool! You’re in WANATribe? First come find everyone who commented on this post. Then start looking around for nifty groups that fit your interests. If you don’t see one, start your own.🙂

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  25. !sdrawkcab gnitirw ton ooos ma I .ereht, oS

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  26. S. J. Maylee says:

    Love this post, Jenny!!! I love surrounding myself with people who know, people who’ve been there. There excellence is bound to rub off on me, right? The amazing thing is that a lot of these people like to help. ROW80 was my first safe place and that has led me to so many others, including my flash fiction group and of course my WANATribe and most recently MarketingForRomanceWriters@yahoogroups.com<– romance is just in the name, they simply concentrate on how to get yourself and your writing out there. It's a very cool supportive group, reminds me so much of ROW80 & Wana. They are starting a summer camp soon that's supposed to be spectacular. Thanks, Jenny!!

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