Embrace the “immersion” phase of creativity.
Reframe struggle as the immersion stage of creativity.
When you run into problems or questions, jot them down on a list of unresolved topics. Don’t know how you should open a story? Did you write yourself into a plot corner? Make a note of what you need and where you’re stuck. Then think about it before you stop working, so that you can trigger the Incubation Effect and invite your Muse to pick up the thread. Start with a clear idea of the problem you’re trying to solve.
Allow time for incubation. Leave space in the schedule for pondering and unstructured musing, which happens most freely in a state of open attention.
Some people insist that they only hit on good ideas under the pressure of an imminent deadline. If this is true for you, don’t wait until the last moment to start thinking, because that shortens incubation time. If you get a terrific idea at the last minute, you may not have sufficient time to evaluate and develop it. Also, most people find it stressful to constantly labor under extreme time pressures.
Intentionally let your mind wander. What exactly were famous inventors or thinkers doing at the storied moment of inspiration?
Once you have your list of things to ponder, invite the Muse by seeking out open attention. Walk outside. Take a shower. Nap. Stare out the window. Whatever you do, get away from the desk or your place of focused work. Get a good night’s sleep. During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep, the brain processes and assimilates the events and thoughts of the day. It shapes connections between ideas and experiences.
Janzer, Anne. The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear (pp. 48-50). Cuesta Park Consulting. Kindle Edition.
Janzer, Anne. The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear (pp. 47-48). Cuesta Park Consulting. Kindle Edition.