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.
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.
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.
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.
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?