There are many myths prevalent in academia that make it difficult for many of us to imagine we can be creative, focused, relaxed, and productive. These myths include: “Some people are geniuses;” “the only way to be successful is to work all the time;” “some people are gifted writers;” “I can only write when I feel inspired;” and “a balanced life is impossible when you are on the tenure track.” These myths are counterproductive and prevent many academics from reaching their full potential.
Instead of believing in these myths, I believe that anyone can become a great writer by practicing their writing; that you can be successful and have a life too; and that there are specific strategies you can learn that will help you tap into your creativity.
Developing new ideas, which is at the core of academia, requires being creative. Your ability to tap into your creative potential is severely limited when you are frazzled, stressed, and overworked. Thus, although it might seem contradictory, being productive requires setting limits on how much you work.
I am sure you can think of a few writers you admire for their craft. I am also sure that those writers did not just wake up one day with the ability to write. Instead, they developed that skill over many years. The good news is that you can do that too. You can develop the ability to write clearly and convincingly, by practicing and honing your writing skills.
There are many strategies you can learn that will help you to become less stressed, more creative, and more productive. Seven of my favorite strategies include:
- Daily writing
- Spending time in nature
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- Getting regular exercise
- Connecting to others via conversation about your work
I incorporate all of these strategies into the Creative Connections writing retreat I co-facilitate a couple of times a year. However, anyone can incorporate these strategies into their daily life. Over the next few weeks, I will discuss each of these strategies. I will explain their benefits as well as give you suggestions for how you can incorporate them into your life.
I look forward to sharing with you some of my ideas about how to be more creative, productive, focused, and relaxed.
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