Why I stopped writing

For a very long time, I had established this daily writing habit. First thing in the morning, I would work on my next two books. Often I took a photo of it, which ended up looking something like this:

But last summer I stopped this practice. I stopped working on both books.

Today I want to talk about how this week I started writing again, and how a daily creative practice is the foundation for:

  1. Improving your craft
  2. Living up to your creative vision
  3. Growing your audience
  4. Getting published
  5. Earning revenue from your craft (if you so desire.)

Earlier this week, I opened the file for my book which said “Last Opened August 9, 2018.” Just that simple act felt kinda momentous. Like I was opening the door to some strange new place that was exciting, but terrifying.

Why did I stop writing? Well, I was overwhelmed by editing. You see, writing isn’t a problem for me. I have loads of ideas, and I’m good at living up to a daily writing habit.

What stops me cold is editing. Editing is my kryptonite. That moment when you look at the 70,000 words you wrote, and your pages and pages of notes and research, and you realize: it’s all in the wrong order.

This winter, I felt kinda bad that I had halted work on my next book. To get started again, I looked to my daily guitar practice. Last year, I began by playing at least a minute per day. Now I practice for an hour every day. How do I fit that in? I break it up into 15 minute increments.
I find that 15 minutes is long enough to get value, and short enough to squeeze in throughout the day.

When I considered my writing habit, I asked myself, “Can’t I fit in 15 minutes of writing?”

The answer is clearly “yes.”

To make it even easier, I scheduled those 15 minutes first thing in the day. Before email. Before I attend to the writers I’m working with in my mastermind, my programs, or private clients.

What can come of a simple daily creative habit? Well, let me tell you what happened for one creator who did this…

Meet artist, illustrator, and author Samantha Dion Baker:
Samantha Dion Baker

Like all of us, Samantha’s life was super busy with her career, her family, and attending to 1,000 things screaming for her attention each day.

Even though she had an arts background, she found herself tired of looking at screens.

One day, she decided to open up a journal and draw. What did she draw? A moment from her day. Then she did this the next day. And the next. Here is a page from one of her sketch books:

What could this possibly lead to? One small drawing per day? Well, this:

More than 30 sketch books filled. Pretty amazing, right?

But this daily creative practice lead to so much more for Samantha:

  • By sharing her process online, 80,000 people started following her on Instagram.
  • She got a book deal to publish not only her illustrations, but her share her process.
  • She also self-published several other books of her sketches, each of which sold out.
  • Illustration and design clients began seeking her out for private commissions.
  • She created an online store to sell prints and stickers of her work.
  • She began teaching workshops.
  • She now works on all of this as a full-time career, from her private studio in Brooklyn.

She and I sat down this week to chat, and I share our interview in my podcast. You can listen to it here.

The idea of investing in your creative practice has become an obsession of mine. If you would like help in developing your own creative practice, please considering joining me and a small group of other writers and creators in my next Creative Shift Mastermind, which begins April 1.

In the Mastermind you will experience:

  • Daily mentorship from me.
  • A clear step-by-step program to help you establish clarity and habits for your creative process.
  • Accountability with regular check-ins.
  • Collaboration with like-minded writers.

Register now to join us!

What is the smallest action you can take to start your own daily creative practice?