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Happiness & Happenstance – no.2 Creative Patterns, My 10-Step Cycle

I am getting to know myself better. Surely, but slowly. Even all my weird patterns.

You would think that with 38 years on this planet I might have some idea of who I am, how I process things, react and create. Still sometimes I seem to forget, overlook or even ignore things I know to be true.

Thankfully, the latter tends to be less and less true as I age. Suddenly I am hyper aware of the ‘how and why’ I do things. I have my own patterns after all.

Case and point – my creative process when it comes to writing.

It’s like a roller coaster. And, it has a very predictable pattern. Yet each month, without fail I go through this cycle and it almost always freaks me completely out. It goes something like this. I call it my 10-step cycle:

  1. Get really excited about story ideas – jot them down, make notes of potential angles and outlets. Start pitching.
  2. Work on the month’s worth of secured stories  – get even more excited about being ability to share story AND get paid.
  3. Put pen to paper … well, more like fingers to keyboard. Begin brain dump.
  4. Feel immediately inadequate about first drafts. Begin worrying process.
  5. Stress for at least a week that I don’t have it in me. I have lost my talent. Beat myself up. DO NOT write anything remotely good. FREAK myself out.
  6. Relax and let ideas start to swirl back. Have feelings of deja vu. Get the faint feeling things might work out in the end.
  7. Begin to get a groove back. Edit my drafts over and over again, over the course of a couple weeks.
  8. Excitement for the end goal starts to build. It is going to be OK. Get shitloads of work done. Feel fantastic.
  9. Feel satisfied with final edits. Begin feeling like I can call myself a writer again.
  10. Hand in assignments, pitch 5 more and start over again.

So why is this month different? Why did I write about this in a section where I share joyful happenings?

Because I finally was able to prepare for, and identify all the stages in my 10-step cycle. And, although I did feel an onset of panic (see #4), I decided right then and there to chill out and trust my creative process would not let me down. And it didn’t! Of course it didn’t.

A great realization that comes from recognizing my pattern is now I’m aware of when I’m in the sweet spot (#’s 6-10) and it’s not just a fluke! So I now try to pack as much work in as I can when I am in this part of my cycle.

Today I celebrate as I can finally cut out a couple of these steps and be a little easier on myself.

“There’s a pattern to what you’ve pulled off in the past. It wants to show you your way in the world.”

~ This quote comes from Danielle LaPorte, someone who got me thinking about my own pattern in the first place.

Do you have a creative pattern similar to mine? Or completely different? I would love to hear about it.

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4 thoughts on “Happiness & Happenstance – no.2 Creative Patterns, My 10-Step Cycle
  1. I go through much the same thing, maybe without the feeling fantastic! I’ve never tried to pin down my creative cycle but I have noticed that blogging doesn’t raise the same stress levels that freelancing does. Interesting post, Jen.

  2. Ah Jenn, this blog is indeed a treat to read – what I heard you say is not that you don’t know yourself or forgot who you are its that you continue to discover and get to a better awareness. Good for you and the discovery – Good for us to have you teach it to us…..in such a lovely written package!

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