How to sustain a creative life

  1. Creating becomes an essential presence in your daily life. Writing needs to feel possible, and success isn’t always measured in daily word counts. As art critic Jerry Saltz writes, “Your artist’s mind is always working, even when you think it’s idling…. Even when you seem to be going nowhere, things are happening.” Creating is about noticing and sorting—paying attention to life around you (when driving, cooking…), and your inner awareness, and then curating the elements for the reader. What’s essential? What can be gently discarded?
  2. Creating becomes a long-view strategy. True sustainability considers the implications of your actions beyond your next book, beyond a politician’s four-year term, beyond your business’s Q4 goals. The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) principle of the Seventh Generation considers how today’s actions and beliefs will impact all beings and shared resources seven generations from now. Think in a longer timescale: how will you create over your lifetime? If you set a goal of publishing five books over twenty years, rather than acing your first draft by Christmas, beginning and completing them becomes more possible. You’ll work revision time into your process, so perfectionism doesn’t slow you down. You’ll move past rejection until you find a publishing strategy that’s right for you. What will be your legacy as a creative being? How will your writing and ideas live on after you?

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