Pen to Paper Newsletter

Pen to Paper: Creative Margins (P6)

Presented below is a thought from me on writing, a quote from someone else on writing, an excerpt from that writer, and a discipline/habit to implement… 

We will be focusing on creative margins today.

A Thought

We must fiercely defend our creative margin in today’s fast-paced world. Without it, we risk leaving behind a trail of unfinished projects, never truly achieving completion.

– Austin Alford

A Quote

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”

– Stephen R. Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, Begin with the End in Mind)

An Excerpt

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey pg 76

“While the word proactivity is now fairly common in management literature, it is a word you won’t find in most dictionaries. It means more than merely taking initiative.

It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.

Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.

Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. Because we are, by nature, proactive, if our lives are a function of conditioning and conditions, it is because we have, by conscious decision or by default, chosen to empower those things to control us. In making such a choice, we become reactive.

Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and their performance.

Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn’t a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.”

A Discipline/Habit to Implement

How is your time and energy invested?

I constantly find myself pondering how I invest my time and energy. It’s an ongoing struggle to strike the right balance.

To tackle this challenge, I started scheduling at least 2 “deep focused work” sessions in my calendar each week for my creative pursuits. I’d do this right at the beginning of the week, so I’d have a clear plan and actually look forward to these sessions!

Let’s make this a simple and practical discipline to incorporate into your life. Before the start of each week, on Sunday night, plan 2 “Deep Focused Work” creative sessions. During these sessions, set a timer for 60-90 minutes on your phone (put the phone on the other side of the room), and let your creativity flow.

I assure you, you’ll witness amazing results! Hopefully, you’ll even have a finished story, song, poem, or script after several of these planned sessions.

Plan these creative margins and remember:

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” (Stephen Covey)

Put Pen to Paper this week and have fun!

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