Do you guys have a creative cycle? Are there periods when you’re more productive? Do you need a precise schedule or are you the type to chase after muses?

As someone who posts daily without any precise topics, I’ve come to notice that I tend to have a few very discernible rotations. I’m not someone who’s very prone to stress so outside influence don’t tend to affect my writing much but my health does. Not that I’m particularly sickly or anything. It’s just that I do have times when I’m more energetic and I’ll do a lot more exercising and running around and a lot less sitting in front of a computer writing. Those are also the periods when I catch up on actually watching shows or playing games.

watching tv anime

On a more regular basis though, I have found that regimenting my creative process works best for me. Man, could I be more square? Seeing as I just used square as an adjective, the answer is most likely: No.

About 6 months ago, I started writing post ideas down as they came through my head. I never throw any out. Sometimes I will push the idea to the side for months but eventually, I almost always end up finding inspiration for it. I have a notebook (yup paper), only for that and carry it around with me so I can jot a topic whenever it strikes me.

I review anime (occasional games) as soon as I finish it, it always takes priority as I want it to be fresh in my memory but I only watch about one series a week (plus the seasonal stuff). For the rest, I have to go to that little topics notebook. I’ve come to realize that I have periods of inspiration, where I can sit down and come up with half a dozen topics off the top of my head and periods of productivity, where I will read through those topics, pick one that strikes me and craft a post around it. I can do 2 or 3 in a sitting if I get on a roll.

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As mentioned above, I am the squarest, so I use to try to keep to a strict schedule. Writing every single day at more or less the same time, for a given period. However, that has proven less than optimal. On several occasions I ended up running out of topics. thankfully, I’m decent at brainstorming but it would occasionally yield some lackluster concepts. Whereas other times, I was writing simply because it was writing time and I needed to get a post done. These ended up messy and far from my best work. I would end up having to edit them so much, I may as well have rewritten them.

It was never so bad as to become a burden in any way, but even a person as generally pragmatic as myself goes through creative cycles and I’ve learned how to make them work for me. Using periods of writer’s block to look up topics that could interest me for potential future posts for instance. I have about half a dozen possible DYI post subjects in mind, but these require me to do some actual research and so I have them on hold until I get into a creative and productive slump where all I feel like doing is falling down an internet rabbit hole.

If I see that I’m being flooded with ideas that are only getting half realized, I’ll put them in my little book for later and also use the opportunity to figure out if they would be suitable for a collaborative effort. Sometimes I get an idea that I love, and I think would make a fantastic post but I’m not sure how to go about it or simply want to read someone else’s take on it. Since we have this great opportunity of being part of a community, we can take advantage of it by working together. Some bloggers may forget that the option even exists.

Island anime

I also take time to read professional anime blogs. This makes me feel snooty… Look, there are some truly gifted entertainment journalists and editorialists that write about anime. I have seen some truly inspiring and well written pieces. But let’s be honest, there is some considerably less impressive material out there as well. Phoned in articles with little to no content. Stilted reviews that make you wonder if the reviewer saw anything beyond the two first episodes. Top ten lists that are more or less copy pasted from a dozen other sites and that are mostly pictures. If that’s what still passes for professional anime journalism in the English speaking world…

It’s not that seeing these posts makes me feel all superior… It does but only until I read my fellow wordpress bloggers which brings me straight back to earth. But it is encouraging. If there’s enough of an interest out there that people are willing to pay for obviously low effort articles, then someone is bound to appreciate me putting work into mine. It makes me feel like I’m contributing something that someone may actually want to read, and that’s also inspiring. A few days of reading those types of publications, and I find myself ready to fill in all the gaps I feel were present in their articles. Man that sounds pretentious.

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Basically, I capitalize on periods of productivity, writing as much as I can during those times. Then take full advantage of periods of creativity, noting down every stray thought no matter how useless it may seem in the moment. And when I’m faced with an actual dry spell, I can use the time to research and put in some groundwork for the next productive spurt or go see what else is out there to inspire myself.

This way, I never feel like I should be writing or get panicked that I have nothing to write about. All of it serves some purpose. And most important of all, when I’m just lazy and I wanna have a nice drink and some fun, I make sure to make it my number 1 priority.

Everybody’s different though. Do you have cycles, or do you stick to tightly defined schedules? Is writer’s block a problem? If so how do you solve it?

spying anime

81 thoughts on “That Creative Time of The Month…”

  1. I suspect I may be susceptible to stilted writeups if there is something that really gets to me. Hmm, I’ll hope my posts can get attention even if it’s criticism so I’ll know if my writing is lacking

  2. Man I wish I could have the same dedication as you. When it comes to blogging I’m pretty sporadic. I’m really picky with what I want to write about since I want to make sure that everything I say isn’t half-baked, and that nothing feels forced. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a perfectionist, since I don’t feel comfortable writing about a topic unless I’m fully knowledgable in that area. That on top of the other things I do means that there might sometimes be long periods of time where I don’t have anything to post. Hope this doesn’t seem like I’m making a bunch of excuses 😛

  3. I don’t really have a schedule to my content creation, but I do keep a backlog of ideas that seem to come out half-baked or need working out (it’s digital, since I did try the physical notebook thing and it didn’t work out). After watching/reading something (especially after the season finale/series finale, since inspiration tends to get pretty fickle after that), I want to talk about what I’ve just watched/read, so sometimes that specific type of productive energy can be channelled towards posts in progress.

    If there’s one thing I know I can’t come up with though, it’s collab ideas. I’m fine with working on other people’s collab ideas (in fact, that’s all I’ve done so far collabs-wise), but even if you paid me to come up with ideas for great collabs to approach other bloggers with, I probably couldn’t think of any…

    1. It is a different type of challenge. I usually just have conversations so it’s not that creative but it’s fun….for me….

  4. I’m not organized to be honest. I typically think about what to write about on the spot, and don’t decide on it until later in the day. Whenever I do think about what to write about ahead of time I’ll usually go with what’s most appealing to me to tackle first. It could either be like me currently doing research on a obscure animator, or simply writing about something no one ever heard about I want to share.

    Ideas I usually scrap are the ones where I don’t feel like I fully committed to making something as good as it could be. Sometimes it’s due to not balancing my offline responsibility with my hobby, or it just didn’t turn out as good as I wanted it to be. When this happens, I try to do them over to see if turns out better the second time. If not, then I move on from it until I know for certain I can do it properly. No point in forcing out something unless I feel like I put the most I could possibly into it.

    Other times, I get lost in the moment of writing something, and it ends up being significantly longer than I expected it to be. Then there the occasions I really want to write about something I like a lot, but never feels like the right way to express my views on something comes through. I remedied some of my writing setbacks by attempting to write every day. Doesn’t matter how much I write, but I know if I commit a little time to writing everyday I’ll always be making progress in some way, and won’t get me down I’m not completing the things I want to do. Editing though, it’s probably where I still need the biggest work at XD. Nothing like turning something that’s just above barely 1000 words into a post that’s around 2200 words long. It’s not frequent, but it happens in the editing process.

  5. I solve the writer’s block issue by not writing. I know self-discipline is a virtue. I also know I have an extraordinary lack of virtue. Anime has to really move me at a gut level or I won’t bother writing about it. Wouldn’t mind collaborating on something, tho. It would be a novel and interesting experience

    I don’t have enough time to be a proper otaku anyhow. I get in maybe 2-3 hours of anime a day *when I watch* and I have other things I do that get in the way. Like fixing my car, hiking the wild places, murdering innocent targets with large caliber firearms, and riding my bike naked around LA.

    Retirement can’t just be all about ossifying in front of a keyboard. If I don’t keep moving, I will lose the ability to move.

  6. For Black and Yellow Otaku Gamers, since we are a group, we post daily but it’s like each person kind of takes a day. I respect anyone that can write daily but I also feel like if I did schedule myself, I can POSSIBLY do it. This may lead to me burning out quickly and I want to make sure I’m having fun writing and not feeling like I HAVE to. But Everyone’s different *shrug*. Thanks for sharing this!

      1. Definitely! Collaboration is fun and everyone is pretty welcoming to feedback from each other. Also just helps when you do need a break. You can always kind of swap out

  7. I have a mix here. I actually get the brunt of my posts done a month in advance. So, i’m working on August’s posts now, with a view to having most of them done by Monday. Sometimes, if time allows, I’d do them in the last week of the month prior to that even. But, I do some last mintue posts too, which are written on the fly as and when I have the time to do them (such as the trailer reactions). The thing is, with a part time job in the middle of the (though not on every day of the week) plus kids to look after, it’s not always easy to get the time to do everything at speed.

      1. Lol. In some ways, the kids make it seem like a vacation. There certainly got at being bonkers enough to make the days fun at least.
        I think that writing in advance is a must where possible. It’s so, so easy to fall behind without it.

        1. that’s not really an issue for me mind you. My blog is very casual – I doubt anyone would notice/care if my posting schedule changed. But for those that have monetized or promotional blogs that can certainly become a problem

          1. Honestly, I think that, with the amount of content out there, it’s easy to miss blogs regardless of their underlying purpose. Regardless though, you’d likely find that you’d be surprised how many people do notice. Regular content followers in aprticular would probably clock it quite quickly.

  8. I wish I could get a schedule. I’m at the whims of all the freaky extroverts in my life. I love hearing them tell me to do something fun-
    And I’m like, I’m having fun-
    Then they’re like, how are you having fun if you’re not at the beach, amusement park, or another party?
    I swear… I would be a good lil’ blogger if it wasn’t for my family’s total obsession with ‘activity’!

      1. So-
        Episode reviews would be reading checks? Series reviews as take home tests? News as research projects? Analysis as essays?
        Hm…
        Yep, fits pretty well! Low effort homework was the worst then too! (Episode reviews of recap episodes? Seriously!?)

  9. This was a great post (but that’s probably not too big of a surprise right?) about a very interesting topic.
    I don’t really have a blogging schedule, but that’s mainly because I know with my job I just can’t combine it. There are days when things are just crazy busy at work, and I just want nothing else to do then come home and watch something. But…the thing I do always do is read posts every day and placing comments on the interesting ones (and those are a lot lol). That usually takes me about two hours a day to.
    But back to the topic at hand, I also try to write reviews pretty much right after I finished something: exactly for the same reason: it is still fresh in my mind. The creative process (if you can call it that, because I still think I lack the real skills) starts at times when I am watching something…I occasionally alreay have certain ideas popping up on how to structure the review. But I usually write the most stuff on days off, or in the weekends. Really enjoyed your post Irina 😊

    1. I’m shocked – with your level of engagement with the community – I was sure you were commenting for 5 to 8 hours a day….You’re a rockstar Raist!

      1. Sshhhhhh I was trying to keep it down on purpose…today I started reading/commenting at 1730…and it’s now 1930. And…about 10 more posts to go (and I am not counting the posts I read and commented on early this morning lol).
        Crap…I am being too honest again am I not? 😂😂 Everyone is just way too talented and kind in this community…love being a part of it every day. It is time well spent 😊😊

          1. Lol…there are days when it’s hard to keep up though, really do have to admit that. But despite that, it’s always fun. And I think I said this before, but I think when someone takes the time to write a really great post that entertains, I just really wish to thank them ..and a comment is the least I can do for that 😊😊

  10. I feel like an of this is going to be shattered soon, but I do have a schedule I like to keep to. After dinner, I try to watch some TV until a certain point, then watch anime for a couple hours, then blog for a couple hours before going go bed. All of that happens on week days. Then Sunday is a big day where I edit posts and schedule them.

    I don’t keep my creative ideas down anywhere. I just pick them up from random events through out the day and remember them. I have a pretty good memory for the most part.

  11. My mornings (and this is relative to whether I’m on a day schedule or a night schedule, referring to when I wake up lol) always begin with either 2 cups o’ coffee, or a pot of Oolong tea. If it’s during the winter season, then I’ll have hot chocolate. Then I sit down and do blog hopping for an hour before I begin my actual work. If it’s the beginning of the week, I will create a rough schedule of posts that I want to have up during that week with the days/time I want them to go up. this helps me organise my time better, but I also allow myself to be flexible in case if I need to shift things around. My (new) posting schedule is every 8 hours. Since my blogging is my full-time work and also one the major ways I cope with Depressions, or PTSD during 4th of July, I tend to blog a lot. But that is basically my work schedule in terms of how I deal with blogging. Creativity definitely gets lack sometimes and I feel discouraged when I can’t meet my schedule/weekly goals, but I have learned to take that as a sign that my body wants me to rest and recoup. So, I will take a small break for a day or two to get my energy and creative processes back.

    It’s interesting, these are things that I think about as a blogger during the week, more so if I have struggles with it, and I’ve never really read a post that focused on creativity the way that you have. It makes me think about my processes and creative habits more, which I think will help me be a better blogger/content creator. 🙂 I always walk away from your posts with new insights. Thank you!! ♥♥

    1. Wow – you are impressive!
      As a generally non creative person trying to undertake a creative hobby – my natural instinct is to suck all the magic out of it by somehow trying to get imperical data out. I’m sort of fascinated by how people go about creative ork in general though – it seems kind of close to magic.
      Also – I hope you’re coping well. Your posts seems much more positive lately (than a few months back when you seem to be having a really rough time). It makes me so glad to read them.

      1. Thank you, Irina. I became so exhausted with feeling so terrible all of the time, so now I make big efforts to try and be positive and optimistic where I can, which can be a challenge sometimes. I’ll still have some bad days, but they no longer immobilise me like they used to. Yay for coping methods. Wishing you a wonderful day or evening ahead! ♥

  12. That’s really a nice question… At the moment I’m posting daily in each working day, I use the weekends to just be lazy and something besides word or blogging! God know how much I need those times which are becoming shorter an shorter.

    I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I see myself as a creative person who normally is in a creative state of mind. I do have times that I don’t feel like to write at all, but put me some creative music and after 10 minutes I’m writing like I just got inspired.

    When it comes to ideas, well, I’m fortunate to say that all series I ended up thinking are long-term, non-stop, ones, which basically means, I always have something to write! In fact, at the moment the problem is to have more ideas than days in the week… I really don’t want to post more than once each day, but I’m just starting to think that is going to be the way.

    And yeah, before I forget, I have a schedule! I’m a procrastinator by heart, which means if I don’t give myself a tight schedule I just won’t do anything.

    However, this kind of hectic schedule (I also want to embrace streaming) is making me to have almost no time to see other creators’ work, which for me is just a bummer, because I love to read and I think that is the best way to get even more inspiration. Moreover, as you, there are probably some posts I’ve put out that are not the best because I’m writing just to put something out. (Ok all of my posts have broken English and are not great, but still…) So, I still have to find my balance and I think it will take quite a while.

    Just want to add a last note, I think that something that really helps me is that from the beginning I put the stance that my blog is more about reading someone who almost seems to be talking with you and more in a carefree and friendly way than someone who really goes to the detail and really studies or makes any kind of research XD

    1. I also have a conversational blog – obviously I’m not going to pretend to teach anyone stuff. You do a lot Art and you’ve been posting like crazy lately.
      I think I’m the opposite of you, as in I’m very uncreative but rather productive. So as long as I have a topic I can write about it.
      If I had someone to give me prompts – I’d be all set. Then again I get picky on those…

      1. Yeah I know that xD but you do the least of research sometimes… Something I never do I’m afraid ahah xD

        Well not as crazy as you have been doing for months, but yeah it’s been way too much compared to what I did in the past xD

        Loool get a blog consultant (is that a thing) to get you 3 or 4 topics so you can choose one of them xP

  13. I find a strong cup of coffee helps. And a sense of outrage about the news. That helps too. If you’re not outraged, you aren’t paying attention. Anime reviews are a great distraction from the outrage, thankfully, and they can heal a lot of social ills caused by those who want to radicalize you and turn you into munitions in their social justice war. Be a better citizen. Watch anime and find tolerance, temperance, peace, and humor at the irony of life. And maybe that ironic sense will help with writing good blog posts. It does me.

      1. Outrage is wonderful for motivation to write. Even if you aren’t writing about what outraged you, and just leave it in your mind its still fuel for the words.

  14. I’d love to be able to split my time and follow a schedule but that’s just not how I work. Most times I just write when I want to write so my posting ends up pretty sporadic at best. Though I am in the middle of changing that. Being free from uni work has resulted in a massive wave of inspiration so I’m maximising it by writing as many posts and stuff that I can :’)

          1. Really?! That’s a first for me 😮 I’m glad it has a nice effect you 😊 Thank you!! That’s given me some motivation to get on with my writing haha :’)

  15. “I have a notebook (yup paper), only for that and carry it around with me”

    There’s something about the act of physically using a pen or pencil that’s tied to creativity for me. I do all of my heavy lifting electronically, but hand-writing still feels more natural for capturing ideas and brainstorming.

    “Some bloggers may forget that the option even exists.”

    I love collaboration, but I just don’t have time for it in this context. What with my 50-60 hour/week day job, trying to write a series of novels, trying (and failing!) to run a computer security blog, and keeping my anime site running, I don’t have much time. Oh, and there’s sleeping, too. Can’t forget sleeping!

    “A few days of reading those types of publications, and I find myself ready to fill in all the gaps I feel were present in their articles.”

    That makes you part of the age-old writer’s community! The best writers have always riffed off each other. Sometimes it’s exploring the same theme, sometimes it’s filling in the gaps from (or maybe it’s more accurate to say “correcting”?) other’s works. Shakespeare did it, so you’re in great company!

    I have to do the bulk of my anime site writing on Saturday and Sunday, so I’m in the regimented schedule camp. The routine’s helpful to me, because I’m also in the camp that believes that constraints fuel creativity. Using a regimented schedule helps me produce my best work.

    I’m still impressed with the quantity and quality of the posts you produce. By getting in the habit of working hard and cultivating your creativity, you’ve tackled two of the biggest roadblocks writers face. I’m only half joking when I say you have only one hurdle left: Living up to your audience’s rising expectations! 🙂

    1. Don’t worry – one thing I have mastered is how to get those expectation back down!
      Thank you Crow – and wow you do all that and don’t even get poutine as a reward!!!
      I think you deserve it

  16. These days I mostly write whenever I feel like it (so on average about once a month). When I first started my blog I wrote almost once a week as it was required of me for a university project I was working on at the time. However, with everything going on in my life, along with struggling to find ideas to write on, I knew it was unrealistic for me to keep to a consistent schedule like most other bloggers.

    My supervisor once told me that the best way to get through writers block is to just write stuff, even though you know most of it is crap. It’s better to have something down on paper to work with rather than to keep it in your head and procrastinate about it afterwards.

    1. Exactly – you can fix “nothing”. My teacher use to say you can polish a turd but you need the turd… He was fancy.

  17. Oooo… Being organized and following a schedule…. What a novel concept! And I’m absolutely NOT being sarcastic as I woke up at 3am and went downstairs to get a post ready as I had forgotten to….hey, I got distracted by poutine and anime (not even kidding)!

    1. “hey, I got distracted by poutine and anime (not even kidding)!”

      That sounds completely justified. I can’t get poutine where I live, so I can understand where you’re coming from!

      1. Can’t get poutine where you’re from?!? How is that even possible? HOW DO YOU SURVIVE??… That’s it. I’ll need to figure out how to mail you a poutine care package courtesy of smoke’s poutinerie! 🤔🍻🍟

        1. I feel super bad for Crow as well. I’m hoping he means right at this very second because I’m walking towards the poutine stand…

        2. You’ve just given me an idea! I get a Loot Crate for Japanese noodles. I’ll be there’s a market for Poutine Crate! Heck, I’d subscribe!

      2. Agreed! I would never trust someone who doesn’t get distracted by poutine and anime.
        Here we have poutine on pizza – we’re health nuts.

    2. How can anyone not get distracted by poutine and anime. I just read that sentence and now it’s all I can think about…

      1. It was so good… I just posted my shame on my Instagram and Facebook because I had left some of the poutine out on my livingroom table last night, as it was way too much…. And then I ate it this morning… Off the livingroom table… That it had been on all night. 😕 I may be in my 30s, but I live like a frat boy. 😅

  18. I write whenever I feel like it, but I always give myself breaks on sundays, and 1-2 weekdays off for weeks without much news.

    I do individual episodic reactions for first episodes, which are great for padding out my blog for a bit without being low-effort. Otherwise, I keep my episode reactions at the end of the week for the rest of the season.

    Sometimes, a topic catches my fancy and I write at length about it. I like days like those, but I tend to draft them first to keep my blog consistent.

    1. Episodic reviews are fantastic to keep those posts coming but boy are they a lot of work. I really admore poepl who can do a lot of them

  19. I definitely have cycles, but I don’t know too much about it. Sometimes I really want to blog but I can’t do it for some reason. Then I just let it be and not blog for that day. I’m not sure if I have consistent cycles because they seem pretty random to me. They could just be a day or last for weeks. Since my reason for blogging is a lot more chill (it’s an online diary and for fun) I don’t stick to a strict schedule. I only blog when I feel like it. I’m thinking of looking at my Archives to see if there is a pattern in productivity. That would be interesting.

    & of course time of year affects how many posts I put out. I always blog more when I have a break from school!

    1. Obviously school is going to be a huge factor.
      It could be interesting to see. Maybe you have more to share every 3rd Wednesday or something!

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