Friday, April 6, 2018

Three {More} Ways to Live Your Best Creative Life, Part 2

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Today, let’s continue to look at specific ways we can combat resistance and maximize the creative power within us to its fullest potential. If you missed the first installment of this three-part series, Three Ways to Live Your Best Creative Life.

Remember, the word createis defined as bringing something into existence. And where creativity is at work, we usually find resistance. 

“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

1. Engage the Power of Collaboration. 
Allen Arnold addresses this in his marvelous book, The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, and Create. It was a game changer for me. As a believer, I knew God was with us, but this book awakened me to an equally certain truth: Not only is God withus, He is also forus. Consider your current work-in- progress. Would your energy or excitement for the project shift if you recognized that God is working with you and desiring the best for your work? Would your work take on a deeper meaning? 

Last January, after reading The Story of With, my entire writing routine changed as shared in my post Nine Rituals That Boost Creativity and Productivity As soon as I sit down to write, I acknowledge and thank God for his presence in the process. 

“Relinquish the script you’ve been holding so tight and replace it with an expectancy for all God desires. Not just for you but that what He wants to do with you.” –Allen Arnold, The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, and Create

2. Brainstorm. 
Talk about maximizing your creative potential! Thankfully, there’s no right or wrong way to brainstorm but if you’re not sure where to begin, simply peruse the Internet for a plethora of ideas. While it’s possible to brainstorm alone using certain techniques like free writing, melding your brainpower with others exponentially increases the creative process. 

There’s only one rule to remember when brainstorming: There’s no such thing as a stupid idea.Those participating need to feel as though they could throw out any idea without being criticized. The rule also holds true if we’re brainstorming alone. Embrace the freedom to jot down any and every idea. Give your internal editor the day off. She deserves a break too. 

(For a while now, I’ve dreamed of creating a gathering that includes two key components: those who desire to brainstorm and mega pots of coffee. Wouldn’t that be fun?) 

“I’ve always loved brainstorming with other writers, and I consider having my work critiqued a part of that brainstorming.” –Jay Asher

3. Turn the music ON. Do you write while listening to music in the background or do you prefer dead silence? Award-winning and internationally published author, K.M. Weiland, considers listening to music as one of the key aspects to her writing process. She believes music encourages focus, enhances our mood, and promotes inspiration. 

I couldn’t agree more. At 8:00 a.m., I switch my Pandora station from Bethel Music (worship music) to George Winston (instrumental). It triggers my brain to start tapping the keys instead of my toes. To strengthen that trigger, I try to minimize playing George Winston’s music outside of writing. 

Lyrical music competes with the words trying to form in my head. But everyone is different and you may find the words to songs inspiring. If you enjoy writing in silence, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give quiet instrumental or ambient music a try. 

“I’m very distracted unless I have music on. Listening to music while I brainstorm makes me think of scenes that would fit the mood of the music I’m playing.” – Maggie Stiefvater

Since we’re closing today’s post on the subject of music I’d love to know—do you write with music and if so, what type? Or do you require silence?

3 (More) Ways to Live Your Best Creative Life, Part 2 - @CathySBaker on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Writers can foster an environment that encourages creativity & @CathySBaker shares her tips (Click to Tweet)

Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. As a twenty-five year veteran Bible instructor, she's led hundreds of studies and workshops. She's also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including Chicken Soup for the SoulThe Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. In addition, her poetry can be found in several popular anthologies.

She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas.
Subscribe to Cathy’s blog at and receive a free e-book, “Praying In Every Room of Your Home.”


  1. Sometimes I write while my husband plays the piano. I find it does open thinking channels. I also enjoyed The Story of With. What an eye opener!

    1. An eye opener indeed, Barbara. I couldn't agree more!

      How blessed you are to have your own personal background music. I love hearing the piano play! Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. Great tips Ms. Cathy. For me, it's sort of silence. I say "sort of" because I've been learning to write through prayer. I sit down to write about something, enter into conversation with the Holy Spirit, and bounce thoughts and ideas off of Him as I'm clicking away. Sometimes I get prompts. Other times, I feel led to rewrite or re-work. I guess it's a collaborative effort. In any case, I like having God involved as I feel I am honoring Him more as a collaborator than as a reviewer. Hope that makes sense. I will try using music though. Great ideas. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. This makes perfect sense to me, Jim. Being confident that God is involved with our work -- that He cares for us, for our work -- is a game changer. You've inspired me! Blessings to you...

  4. Music is definitely a key part of my writing routine. Without it, it seems something is missing. I mainly use soundtracks, but it really depends on the mood I'm trying to create. Tense music for tense story components, calm music for the calm components, and so on.

    1. I like that you choose your soundtracks based on the mood you're trying to create. This takes it to a new, deeper level. Thank you for sharing, David.

  5. I'm one of the silent writers. Music distracts me. I was so involved with Musical Theatre in my early years, that any music - even instrumental - takes me to a place I don't want to go when writing.
    But I love your first point. I was just praying this morning in my devotion time that God would direct in every aspect of the manuscript I'm working on now. I even prayed through most of the first 14 verses of Proverbs 3, including the part about God's wisdom and presence being more valuable than silver, gold, and jewels (earnings).
    Thank you for the thought that God is FOR us as well.

    1. Hi, Jackie! I love what you shared about God's wisdom and presence being treasured above all else, including earnings. I just prayed for you/your manuscript and will continue to do so as He brings you to mind. Blessings!

  6. I love these tips, Cathy, especially music. Sometimes I forget and I wonder why I'm not motivated. It helps so much to turn on inspirational songs until I'm really into my writing, then I have to turn it off to concentrate. :) Thanks for writing to us!

    1. Thanks, Kim. I am with you -- love the inspirational but when it's time to hit the keys, on comes the instrumental music or silence. My brain has enough competition as it is. :) I appreciate you taking the time to share. Blessings, friend!

  7. Cathy, I really liked your 'Story of With'. I relate to the precept of God with us. The older I grow the stronger 'with' grows. The idea of music while writing? I've tried music, but it just distracts me. The only kind that doesn't is 'live', as in Barbara's instance. When my children were at home afternoons were always filled with piano practicers. All afternoon, and I so miss that. No matter who was practicing, or how accomplished they were didn't matter. I could write through all of it. But recorded music is just distraction now. Thank you for your tips. Donevy

  8. Hi, Donevy. Thanks so much for sharing! My eyes became a little teary as you recalled listening to your children play. Our oldest granddaughter is starting to play and it's the sweetest music ever, even in the beginning stages. :) I pray God's blessings on the work of your hands.

  9. I enjoy good instrumental music, and I also find it helps my focus. Another helpful and inspiring post, Cathy!