Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unleash the Power of Q.U.I.E.T. and Increase Creativity

I’ve been listening to a great life management podcast, The Empowered Podcast by Ellory Wells. Crystal Paine, Michael Hyatt, Jon Acuff, and Jeff Goins are some of the recent guests who have shared tips on how to manage time and money well, increase your productivity, foster leadership in yourself and others, and build creativity. (And by the way, if you're looking to do any of these things these bloggers I mentioned are ones to watch).

I’ve been listening to this podcast in the car as I corral children to and from play dates, curriculum sales, and dental appointments.

On a recent podcast, former CEO of Thomas Nelson, Michael Hyatt shared his morning power routine. Hyatt is a power blogger, motivational speaker and author of the bestselling Platform. He has an intense, busy day every day and is known for his productivity. How does he start each morning?

Even before his workout and shower, he enjoys FIFTEEN MINUTES of quiet. He sits there in the silence and out of this time he fuels his entire day. Great decisions are made, new ideas energize him, all because of the start of these fifteen minutes.

Creativity can be a hard commodity to come by and I’m learning the noise of everyday busyness can further block those juices from flowing.

Whether it be a crying baby that interrupts your naptime writing revelry or a boss who demands you work overtime at your day job as your book deadline looms, some of the chaos and noise cannot be controlled.

However, there are noisemakers we can still or gentle in our lives. Let’s look at a few:

Q uit checking.

Your cell phone, email, ipad, kindle/nook readers are just a few of the many gadgets that make up the BIGGEST noisemaker in our lives.

You may have a job where you need to be on call, but most of us can afford to take a break from these gadgets. In fact we must.

Take daily breaks from technology. Weekly or at least monthly take a day off-grid. I am preaching myself under conviction because I know I am far too tied to technology. God has been prompting me to live in the quiet places.

This allows our mind time to meditate on ideas, to digest them. Technology keeps us jumping from thought to thought.

U tilize the moments God gives you.

God gives us times for quiet, we need to embrace when they are. When I was night nursing my children God allowed me to have quiet times when nobody else was awake. He taught me to take notes or read a book and let my imagination grow wild when there wasn’t anything else to do. The time he gives you may not be the time you would choose but as you are a good steward of it, watch what you can do with even the smallest pockets of time.

Maybe everyone in your office leaves for lunch at noon, but by staying at your desk during this time you may have silent time to work on your historical romance.

Using those moments changes during the different seasons of your life. It may be at night, in the morning, during a child’s naptime, or any combination of different times. It may be a full hour or it may be a few minutes but you’ll be amazed how these little moments can build up to a novel.

I nvest in what you need to find quiet.

It might be a small financial investment, or may involve getting the help of those around you.

Do you need to find a different spot to write? Maybe a library or coffee shop. Perhaps it’s a different room in your house that is further away from the din of children trying hard not to fall asleep.

My children take hours to settle in to bed. So if I want quiet at night I’ll often use a white noise machine, a fan, or play soft music so I can drown out the loudness.

Driving in the car to pick up kids from school, taking a walk around the block at night, the morning commute to work on a bicycle all are great quiet time.

E xercise

OK, maybe this one is just me, but I’ve found a double benefit to working out at the gym. It increases my creativity. Might just be the fact that I go alone, more often that not first thing in the morning but I find not only are these great thinking times for me…but I have more energy throughout the day so my creativity increases all the time.

As I found when I read the schedules of famous people, MANY of them took long walks on a daily basis. It is quiet time and a walk or a run can often not only pump the adrenaline but also pump you up on a new idea.

T ake your time

Rush and hurry can blur our thinking. There is no time to find new ideas.

When I say take your time, first I mean take your quiet time.

Time in prayer and in the Word daily allow God to speak into you and your life. As you have quiet time with Him and bring him your sins and struggles you find new energy to put into your writing. A cleansed vessel is a clear vessel that God can use to then speak into other’s lives.

And then allow yourself slow times. We need down times in the busy seasons. When we rush from thing to thing we often impair our ability to think clearly. All of us have busy lives, but when we reach the point of overwhelm we don’t have the train of thought to grow in our writing.

Use slow thought activity daily to increase your creativity. Vaccuuming doesn’t take much thought, why not spend the time thinking of what your character will do next. Waiting in line can be boring, use the time to create dialogue for the first meeting of your hero and heroine.

Taking a daily quiet time, allowing for margin in your life, finding quiet spaces and times are all ways to increase your writing creativity (and as a result your productivity). What tips do you use to build your own creativity?
Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reviewing and writing for Library Journal and the blog Wonderfully Woven.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Julia, this was awesome! Now that I have a smartphone, I finally see the obsession with it. I am trying to train myself to NOT always go to it when I am bored....especially if other people are in the room!

Quiet is such a gift and I think we overlook the power that it has. You did a great job of laying it all out to see. Thanks for the reminder!

Joanne Sher said...

You are absolutely speaking my language, girl! When I am in the car alone, I NEVER turn on music. I take a tech free day every two weeks. I have started walking. I recently (several months ago, anyway) moved to a back room for most of my writing. And it is making a huge difference. You are most definitely preaching to the choir here - though we will see how summer, and having the kids home - will affect it. Fabulous post!

Joan Hall said...

I rarely turn on the radio while driving, and I never turn on music when writing.

Someone recently said that the best thing we can do with our smart phones while writing is to put them in airplane mode. Even though I've used Freedom to block the internet, my smart phone often interrupts me. Using airplane mode solves this problem.

Julia M. Reffner said...

SHERRINDA, for me its my iPad. Great point about how disruptive it is to relationships, another important reason to find the quiet.

JOANNE, sounds like you are doing all the right things. Hopefully when the kids come home you'll be able to keep it up. I love that you are taking walks for creativity. And I love your idea of a tech-free day every 2 weeks. That sounds like such a doable way to start.

JOAN, Good idea about using airplane mode. I don't know about Freedom, sounds like something I should check into. Great ideas!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Beautiful post, Julia. I love the idea of living in the quiet spaces. It's truly a challenge in a house with pre-teen children. I have to purpose to plant those quiet times in my life. I'm good about meeting with God just about every day, but I really love the idea of beginning my day with fifteen minutes of QUIET time. I'll have to see if I can incorporate that.

Thanks for sharing this! You've given me much to think about!

Angela said...

Great post! Thanks for all the great ideas.

Julia M. Reffner said...

JEANNE, you're so right about having to purposely plan it. But I guess when our kids get older it just becomes something else that takes up that space. I was intrigued by the idea of starting the day with silence, too before the noisyness of life takes over.

ANGELA, so glad it was helpful. THanks for stopping by and commentng.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is exactly what I needed to read right now. Been praying about every single one of these aspects of QUIET.
Thank you for your transparency and encouragement in sharing. <3

Julia M. Reffner said...

So glad it spoke to you, Meghan. I have so far to go but hope I can encourage others in the trenches.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

I'm so late to this, but WOW, Julia - great article! I love your acronym, particularly the "Q" in quiet! YEP, I need to quit checking - big time! Feeling convicted and inspired. :)

Ellory Wells said...

Hey Julia! Thanks for the shout out.

I'm a big fan of quite. Sometimes the best sound in the world is the wind blowing and birds chirping.

Creativity is like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it gets.

Thanks for the encouragement!