Start with something


Ahead of the second annual Big Hearted Business conference this weekend, I've had a couple of Clare Bowditch song lines in my head ... 'You don't have to be just one thing, but you have to start with something'.

Many readers responded keenly to Richard Holt's pair of pearls on finding stories and generating material. He really tapped into our creative souls, didn't he? He impressed us with his creativity and his commitment to craft.

One reader said from now on she would treat her creative writing as a client, giving it the respect, commitment and enthusiasm she already gives to her corporate writing. Another reader asked if he really had to write an entire story a day. A third reader has added the Sarah Selecky daily prompts to his already brimming inbox. Yet another committed to writing 30 minutes a day as soon as she wakes up before her brain gets in the way.

All excellent commitments. But how are these commitments, either said or unsaid, dreamlike or concrete, working out for you?

Were they grand claims that got crowded out, shoved aside or even trampled by the rest of your life? Or have you, despite all else, stayed true to your goal/s?

We have to start with something.

As a creative writer and a creative writers' editor and coach, I need to keep my creative well topped up. I need to walk my talk.

I haven't been doing that. I've left creating for creating's sake somewhere back in 2012. I need to find it, dust it off and shine it up; show it the love that I do my clients' writing.

So here's a fresh commitment: On 19 May I'm going to start playing with words and ideas for two hours' per day three days' per week. I'm going to schedule 'create' into iCalender and I'm not going to compromise, no matter which earning, learning or yearning pressures come my way. I'm going to commit to creating like this for six weeks. My main aim will be to stay curious and not let my brain get in the way ... At the beginning of July I'll ask, 'How did that go?' And I'll evaluate what it was like to commit thirty-six hours to starting ...

What will you do? When will you start? What form will your commitment take?

Will you dedicate five minutes every day for five days?

How about an hour a week in May?

What about an entire day in June?

As Natalie Goldberg wrote in Writing Down the Bones,

'You practice whether you want to or not. You don't wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It'll never happen, especially if you are out of shape or have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance ... And in the middle of the run, you love it.'

What's your version of a story a day for a year?

May your words pour onto the page,