This post originally appeared on the Children's Book Academy blog.
December is always a busy month, with holiday celebrations, school and work events, family commitments, and more. It’s easy to let creative pursuits take a back seat to end-of-year demands. So how do you stay motivated to be creative during this sometimes overwhelming season? Read on for five practical tips.
FIVE TIPS FOR STAYING MOTIVATED:
1) Pick one project to work on. It can be writing a new draft, revising a particularly sticky section of a current work in progress, illustrating one spread, brainstorming ideas, or working on marketing and branding plans. Focus on one aspect of your creative writing career. And if you make progress in that one area, you may decide to move to another project if time permits.
2) Set up an accountability check-in with other creative friends. Whether it’s an online critique group, an in-person meet up, or an email chain with a creative buddy, set up a system you can rely on to help you move through the next few weeks. You can agree on goals together. Maybe you decide that you don’t have the time to write a new draft but you agree with a writing partner to critique one draft each. Maybe you agree that you will simply check in! Just keep the momentum going.
3) Carry a journal. Write down snippets of conversations, scenes you witness, adorable animal antics, cute phrases your children say, and anything that sparks your creative thoughts. Even if you don’t do much writing or revising over the next few weeks, if you have ideas to dive into, you will be ready to tackle new projects in the new year.
4) Keep reading in your genre and in other genres. You can read children’s literature, poetry, magazines, and adults stories, too. As you read, think about how the works could inform your own writing process. And enjoy other art forms as well. Keeping your mind trained to appreciate language and art will help foster your own creativity when you are ready for it.
5) Map out a calendar for January, 2019, and plan creative projects for the new year. Write your project ideas and action strategies directly on a calendar, or keep a running 2019 project list. List out the ideas you have and the projects you might be working on after this busy time of year, when things start to settle back into normal routines. Also, keep a list of your works-in-progress and where you are in the process with each, such as brainstorming, writing, revising, submitting to critique groups, submitting to agents or editors, and marketing. In January, pull out this list and get back to work!
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During busy times, it’s easy to let creative projects get sidelined. But hopefully, you can take some time now to focus on a few steps that will keep you motivated to forge ahead with your creative work. And just as important, make time to enjoy the many special moments of the season.
Happy creating! And all the best for 2019!