I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April using the theme “What to Pack on Your Creative Journey.”
A completely unscheduled vacation might sound good, until you waste a morning in a hotel room deciding what to do next or an afternoon wandering around the least interesting portion of a fascinating city. Even a beach vacation benefits from a bit of structure – a stack of reading materials to choose from, a couple of pre-scheduled tours, and a list of shops to visit.
I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos. ~Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody (2016)
I need an astounding amount of structure to get myself to do what I claim that I want to do. This applies to my creative journeys as much as it does to my healthy habits.
Losing weight required an on-line support group, a lot of books, meal plans, and a daily exercise habit. Writing a novel required all the energy and support of NaNoWriMo, plus a scenes list and character profiles. Reading a book for my book club requires a post-it note with a goal for the page number to reach each day.
Trackers are motivating for me. I can get myself to do amazing things to earn a check mark on a list or a star on a chart.
A deadline encourages me to finish a project. The A to Z Challenge has scheduled dates when posts are expected to appear. For projects that are less public, my own deadlines keep me on track – even if sometimes I move the deadline because I was too optimistic about how quickly I could finish something.
Here are some of the structures that I used to write my A to Z posts:
- A grid on my white board where I drew a star next to each letter when I completed the draft
- A journal file where I kept track of the work that I did each day as well as the notes and drafts
- An orientation mind map which included the following items:
- A repeatable task list for how to approach the draft of each letter
- A schedule for writing the draft of each letter
- A repeatable task list for how to approach the blog set up and scheduling of each letter
What structures support you on your creative journeys?