Creative freedom: How to trick my brain into finishing stuff

Somewhere between baby feedings and cleaning toddler messes and schooling the six-year-old and feeding these people 47 times a day I’m supposed to be able to work and clean and find personal creative fulfillment? The dreams are there. The execution, not so much.


Normally this looks like trying to cram in writing a book while I park kids in front of a TV. Or reassembling a kitchen island I painted in the middle of the night because it took ALL FRAKKING DAY. Or I stay up later than I should making a dress and run on four hours of sleep because night time is the only time I can get things done.

Whatever the reason, getting stuff done is nigh unto impossible about 93% of the time. And this is WITH a supportive husband who holds the baby all evening and tells me to get out and take some time on weekends.

A couple weeks ago, I had a call with a friend who is launching a book coaching business. I felt anxious because a) I  have imposter syndrome as a fiction writer, b) I was not prepared at all to talk to her about this book.

Yes, I have been writing this book for a year. No, I’m still not sure what genre it’s in or what I am going to do with it.

Anyway, my friend told me that it doesn’t matter what I do: That my style and vibe are consistent and that is enough. It sounds so simple, right? But I spent so long putting on marketing brain and trying to put this project into a box that I could easily bullet point in a query email that I’d lost all perspective on what I loved about it in the first place: That it DOESN’T fit in that box. That it’s written in my voice about a woman who is my age. That it’s about travel and witches and love and things that I think are beautiful.

The dress I finished while we were walking out the door on Sunday because my daughter wanted it. And she walked around like she was a freaking princess, so it was totally worth it.

So, I’ve re-prioritized my creative life. I’ve stopped committing to word goals. I’ve stopped viewing successful execution of an arbitrary plan as success.

Some days, I want to write. Some days I want to spend 3 hours baking scratch bread boules and soup for the teenager who begged for it. Some days I feel like making clothes or refinishing my cabinets. So, I did all of those things this week, and the momentum was so much stronger in every area.

So, the tl;dr is this: I get so much more done (and finished!) when I am working in several of my outlets and roll with the one I want to work on in the moment. This weekend we finished the kitchen island and a dress.






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