Why Be Creative? 10 Reasons to Make the Leap

by Alli Polin on November 4, 2014

learn to unleash your creativity through intentional action

A few weeks ago I wrote about my children and their commitment to the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.  In my effort to support them, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring too.  All it takes to “win” is 50,000 words in 30 days.  Easy peasy? I doubt it.  I know all of the reasons “why not” and have been going over and over them in my mind, but excuses kill creativity.  I’ve finally started to ask a much better question: “Why be creative?” I’ve been sitting on the fence long enough – change only happens with action.

If you aren’t familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) here’s the quick and dirty scoop:  You write a novel in a month.

As I went through the process of deciding go or no-go here’s some of my self-talk:

  • I am not a novelist.
  • I am already writing “my own” book on breaking the frame.
  • I have a lot of work to do for my business, I don’t really have time to write a novel.
  • I’ve never wondered if I have a novel inside of me waiting to leap out.
  • Nobody is going to ever read my novel, except maybe for my husband, and even he likely won’t read it.

I think part of the truth is also that it feels secretly decadent.  Kind of like eating really good chocolate or drinking fabulous wine.  Almost like I’ll be sneaking around on my responsibilities and doing something frivolous.

Who am I to prioritize fun, creativity or me for 30 days in a row?  Shouldn’t I be working on new programs, finishing my non-fiction book, focusing on my business?

Here are the top 10 reasons I’m participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo and I hope that you’ll find some that inspire you to make a creative leap this month too. 

Why Be Creative?  Here are 10 Reasons!

1. Totally Out of the Comfort Zone

I have never tried writing a novel or imagined myself as a novelist.  It’s far beyond my comfort zone where I happily write about personal leadership, but there’s also something really alluring about it.  Can I write fiction?  I’m sure.  Can I write good fiction?  I’m about to find out.

2. Discipline Required

I will need to write 1,667 words a day… if I don’t skip a day over the next 30 or come in low one day.  I don’t know that I’ve done anything for 30 days in a row.  If I can do this, I wonder what else I will be able to apply the same discipline to next? 

3. Sparking Creativity

Doing something completely new, always opens up my thinking.  In fact, this is a challenge to intentionally immerse myself in creativity. How cool is that?!  I’m going to practice letting go, swimming with my imagination, and seeing where it takes me.  Totally awesome, right?

4. New Challenge

I like having a challenge in front of me however, some of the challenges I set are, well, clearly attainable. Yeah, they’ll take discipline, creativity and focus, but they’re far from out of reach.  Writing a novel?  I have no idea how to do that.  I know how to write words and string them together… the rest I’m going to learn on the fly.  Kinda scary, kinda thrilling, kinda exactly what I need to be doing.

5. Don’t Know the Ending

I have a premise in mind for the book, but as of this moment, I don’t know the ending.  It feels good to write without knowing how it will end.  I moved overseas without an end date and it has felt overwhelming at times.  This challenge is going to get me back into the flow of play and possibility that is present when you let go of the ending and ground yourself in the journey.

 

6. Nobody Forced Me

Nobody dared me, nobody assigned me this task, I’m not doing it with a bunch of friends or to fit in with the cool crowd.  I’m going to write a novel in a month because I want to do it.  Because it’s making a creative leap, totally different and absolutely playful.  I’m doing it for me and to feed my longing to play.

7. No Telling My Kids “Do This” While I “Do That”

I can imagine the scene that would unfold after school and on the weekends if I were to tell my kids “No playing! You said you were going to write a novel. Get to work!”  Sound remotely fun to you?  Not to me either.   Instead, I want to remember why we’re all doing the challenge and be in it too.

8. Big Goal

Not going to lie, 50,000 words sounds like a lot of words to me.  This is not a challenge simply to try my hand at writing fiction or even a short story.  A big part of the challenge is the word target.  I can’t open my laptop for 20 minutes before bed and crank it out.  I need to plan, schedule and commit to tackle this big goal.  That feels motivating.

9. Break Bad Habits

I have some really bad writing habits.  I blog regularly, but it takes me forever to write a post.  I edit as I go in an almost endless re-read, re-write cycle.  I also check Twitter 5 – 10 times, open Facebook on and on.  I will not have time for re-writes, ongoing edits or social media distraction during NaNoWriMo.  I will edit my novel starting in December, but for now, I need to use every minute of my writing block wisely.

10. Fun

I need to reconnect with fun and doing something that makes my heart sing.  I’m inspired by my coaching clients, love blogging and building eCourses but there is something really fun about simply being creative.  What I love most about creativity is that you can’t do it wrong.  Creativity is freeing from self-judgement, must-dos and mistakes.  Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?

If you’re feeling like life is one big rut at the moment…  Stop wishing that things were different and DO something different.  It’s the surest way out and on with the adventure!

What will you do this week and this month to turn up the volume on your creativity?

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!

What do you need to do to get out of your rut and spark some creativity of your own?  This eCourse is for you: Get Unstuck and Choose to Move

 

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck November 4, 2014 at 6:43 am

Hi Alli

Loved the post and the imagery of you doing even more of your ‘creative thing’!

I loved the ten reasons, as so many resonated. In particular, I’ve never ever been a fan of ‘do as I say not as I do’! I am also always keen to have fun ~ life is too short not to do so!

I wish you every success with novel … and your own ‘serious’ book. You provided a little spur to me ~ thank you ~ on that latter score, as my own book writing efforts have floundered since mid-September due other life pressures, including an influx of work; increased professional support of my nephew’s business; and a son who is preparing his first home so that he can move into it soon!

Wishing you a brilliant week ahead!

Kind regards

John

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 6:47 am

Sounds like you have many exciting things going on in your life keeping it fun, John! I truly appreciate your connection and support! I also very much mean it when I say I’m looking forward to reading your book!

I’m only four days into this challenge but have already learned something important. I need to schedule the time to write instead of waiting until I think I have something to say. Will not let a blank page be my master even if the first draft is a roller coaster!

Many thanks!

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Karin Hurt November 4, 2014 at 7:13 am

So exciting! What’s your novel about?

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

You know, unlike most seasoned novelists, or anyone with a smart bone in their body attempting NaNoWriMo, I didn’t outline my novel and I’m seeing now, just shy of 10,000 words, that I’m not quite sure where it’s going. It’s about a woman who founds a start up, gets a big check post-acquisition, and decides to fire the nanny and stay home full time with her two elementary aged children for the first time.

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ November 4, 2014 at 7:54 am

Hi Alli,
What sings out to me in this post is how creatively you combine steps as diverse as discipline with let your creativity sing.

So true and very well done! When I hit a block, I will be reading this post again.

Bravo Alli. Keep the great posts coming.
Kate

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

I love that discipline and creativity can co-exist. It’s not all about waiting for inspired action… it’s thinking creatively and building the path to take it.

Many thanks, Kate!

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Cynthia November 4, 2014 at 8:06 am

Love your article Alli! And how exciting that you are writing a novel! Can’t wait to hear more about it and more importantly read it. You rock my friend!

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Really appreciate your support! I can tell that half way through it will be easy to lose steam. Will definitely need to keep my saboteurs at bay, who tell me that the story stinks, and just keep on writing.

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Samantha Hall November 4, 2014 at 8:33 am

Alli! Congratulations for taking on this new 30 day adventure! What’s your novel about?

Looking forward to hearing about your progress! It will be interesting to see how engaged/disengaged you will be in your writing since fiction writing is so very different from nonfiction and blog posts! As in, are you feeling more freedom in your writing when doing the novel versus the other kind of writing? etc.

I”m sure you are going to learn quite a bit about yourself and creativity in the next 30 days!

You GO gurl!
xo

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Writing fiction is definitely incredibly different! It’s been eye opening (and only on day five now). I didn’t make too huge of a leap into science fiction but writing more about what I know and see… work life balance, the desire to be supermom -even it’s the desire that gets in the way of being the mom we are…

I’m a little nervous about losing steam but that’s when the discipline comes into play. There’s truth in the advice “just keep going.”

Without a doubt I’m going to learn a TON about myself and my creative limits this month. Grateful for your support! Maybe I’ll have to write another post about the experience 🙂

Thanks, Samantha!

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Joy Guthrie November 4, 2014 at 8:38 am

I know you can do this Alli. When I was in college, I had one of the best classes I ever took in creative writing. For the entire semester, we had to write a paper every single day, a 2000 word thesis every 2 weeks, a 4000 word thesis every 4 weeks, and a final paper of 10,000 words. Once you get started writing every day, the problem can sometimes be getting the muse to be quiet so that you can do other things! Love the terrific challenge you’ve given yourself. You got this!

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I’ve never taken creative writing and now kind of wish that I had! I’m looking forward to needing to quiet the muse. I think that like with any skill that you flex and strengthen, you grow into it. I wish I could sit down for a chat with my main character and ask her where this is all going.

Truly appreciate your support, Joy!!

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Carl November 4, 2014 at 8:50 am

Hi Alli, great post – I’ve worked with students on NaNoWriMo, but always from the safety of the side-lines. I’ve never risen to that challenge, and your list resonates all the reasons I provide myself.
I sense you’ve hit on a ‘NaNoWriMo syndrome’ – those ‘I could never do that’ moments, whenever there is a goal that seems to be out of reach we run through the liturgy of well rehearsed reasons why it will never happen.
I’m betting you find a way to embed #10 into your writing and enjoy the journey.

Best regards,
Carl
@SparktheAction

btw, I edited this comment 11 times before being ready to submit…..your #9 fits me to a T 🙂

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm

If it’s not fun, what am I doing? It doesn’t mean that every moment will be easy… I’m looking forward to stepping into something new and think it will teach me a lot about myself, my writing and also give me some new perspectives to bring to clients.

The editing is going to be a struggle but am trying to minimize letting myself re-read what I wrote the day before.

Fingers crossed!

Appreciate your kind words and insights too, Carl!

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Bill Benoist November 4, 2014 at 9:36 am

Alli,

You totally rock! I love the challenge you are giving yourself. It’s a great goal, totally doable, and I for one will definitely want to read it 🙂

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Thanks a ton, Bill! Means so much! I’m looking forward to making this goal my reality.

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LaRae Quy November 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

All, this article motivated me so much that I want to write a novel in a month!

It sounds exciting, fun, scary, and challenging. What better reasons to get started!

The way you broke down this huge project, and the attitude with which you did it, is perfect.

Two things: when is the Break The Frame book coming out, and when can we expect your novel????

🙂

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm

It is fun and scary all at once. I’m discovering the merits of outlining (which I didn’t do!) and heavy duty character work (which I also skipped for some day dreaming about the characters instead.)

There are people who have written about this process of “planning vs pantsing” (flying by the seat of your pants) and how each approach works and ultimately calls for the writer to blend the two. It’s hard to reach a goal without any planning but there’s something to be said for taking action on something you really want to do!

As for the Break the Frame book… right now I’ll say 2015… month TBD 😉

Thanks a ton for your support and encouragement, LaRae! PS. It’s only Nov 4 in the USA, it’s not too late to jump in and start your novel today!

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Meg November 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

Great points in here – It’s also important not to fear failure when being creative, as failure is an essential building block to success… and the idea of failure is always much worse than the moment of actually failing.

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Welcome, Meg! I agree with you. We make failure out to be the worst possible thing that could ever happen but in truth, it’s sometimes exactly what we need to happen.

Thanks, Meg! Hope you’ll stop by the blog again.

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Johann Gauthier November 4, 2014 at 5:46 pm

What a fun post Alli!
Creativity… Gosh! Now you’ve got me hooked!
We’re all creative. So happy you’re enjoying the space and challenging yourself to grow.
Blessings,
Johann

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Alli Polin November 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Johann,

Thanks for your comment! There is one thing you wrote that I cannot echo loudly enough: “We’re all creative.” Sometimes our creativity gets buried under responsibilities, must-dos and should-does and even a little bit of been-there-done-that. Here’s to opening a new entry into creativity that will permeate through out my life.

Many thanks!

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Jon Mertz November 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Wonderfully said, Alli! We never know where a spark may come from, so we need to go out and create. From here, the possibilities are limitless. We need to tap into the wonder within us and around us. Wonderful points here! Jon

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Alli Polin November 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

Truly! “We need to go out and create.” It’s leading from possibility which is where the magic happens.

Many thanks! Always appreciate your insights, Jon!

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Tom Rhodes November 4, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Alli,
Your creativity in a novel will be a work of art.
The ability to use real life situation and creatively move them to a learning and coachingexperience has always been inspiring. Your posts are always awesome and I have no doubt your novel will meet great heights.
I look forward to reading it.
Tom

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Alli Polin November 11, 2014 at 4:09 am

You’re too kind. I’m writing like crazy but the real test will be the first read through with red pen in hand.

Makes a huge difference to have your support! Thanks, Tom!

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Terri Klass November 5, 2014 at 8:59 am

I am so proud of you Alli and know you will knock your novel out of the park!

When the creativity bug bites us we know it is time to leap into action. We thrive on coming up with a great idea that is meaningful to us. When I was younger I use to love to write poetry and lyrics to songs. The words spoke to me. I felt empowered.

I am rooting for you and know you can adjust your schedule. Your are going to be quite the role model for your kids.

Here’s to the future novelist- Alli!!!!

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Alli Polin November 11, 2014 at 1:04 am

Thanks, Terri! Your support means the world to me.

You wrote the lyrics to songs and poetry? How cool is that?! It’s amazing to discover the hidden gifts and passions of others. Wish I could hear one of your songs!

xo

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Gilly November 17, 2014 at 11:36 am

Alli -what a great role model you are for your children. As parents we spend a lot of time encouraging them to do things, we might never try ourselves. Showing your kids and your readers that you are willing to take a risk, take on a commitment and explore your creativity in a new way, you give us all the chance to say, “we’ll try too!”
You are also sending a clear message that we are never too entrenched, to try something new. Thank you for this inspiring post and your honesty. I’m sure you’ll feel such a great achievement at the end of the 30 days.
Thank you for this inspiring post and for your honesty and clarity.
Gilly

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Alli Polin November 18, 2014 at 12:35 am

Thanks, Gilly! It already has opened up my mind in many other areas where I had lost my sense of play. It’s been so much fun, I’m ahead of schedule! I enjoy writing next to my daughter on the couch as we lovingly push each other to meet our goals and enjoy it too.

Trying something new, even something that seems insignificant is so often just what it takes to break free in other areas of our life.

Huge thanks to you for your support and connection!!

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