2020 Releases

The Rock Star's Familiar
The Vampire's Familiar
The Witch's Familiar
Phantasia: Bad Day On Olympus
Ice Cave
Destiny, Desire & Murder
Close to the Truth

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Magic Thursday - Creative Currency

by Lilliana Rose

Sometimes efficiency is about doing the jobs you have the energy for.

This realisation was somewhat of a revelation for me. I’ve been so used to pushing my self forward with my writing, getting exhausted, then writing anyway until my fingers bleed, my eyes were red raw, and my back ached as if a thousand knives protruded out – well not quiet but you get the picture. The idea of completing the writing jobs that I had the energy for never entered my mind. All I could contemplate was writing hard for long hours because that would get the story out on the page, meet deadlines, and build my ‘published list’. But this approach was leaving me exhausted.

I think when I was working full time I managed to write efficiently. I had to there was no other way for me to try and get the stories written. I would have my allocated time to write in the evening and I would pelt out the words. Some evenings I didn’t have the energy to write, so I didn’t. I would try and make up the word count later in the week, but I didn’t always (most often) have the energy to do this, so the catch up didn’t happen. But the story did get written – it just took longer.

Now I have more time to write, which is great, I love it, but it’s tempting to push away other things and over focus on my writing, and I don’t think I’m as efficient. Creative energy is wonderful, fun and exhilarating but it can also leave me feeling tired – hey I’ve just poured blood and bits of flesh into the story, filled characters with emotion, no wonder I’m tired.

I’ve read we have about 3-4 hours worth of creating energy a day. That’s not a lot – not for me I’ve got lots to write. While I can push past this, if there’s a deadline, I do find this figure is about right, sometimes even less. My best creative writing is done within about two hours per day. That’s not a lot of time. I feel I should do more. But now I remind myself, ‘sometimes efficiency is about doing the jobs you have the energy for.’ I’ve just done the job I had the energy for, now I need to move onto a different job, probably a non-writing job. That is easier said than done.

What I’ve done in the past is break down big writing jobs so that they are manageable, or prioritising, but this idea of doing the job right now that I have the energy for is a little different. What do I have the energy for right now? Isn’t a question I ask myself when organising my day.

It’s about finding the natural creative flow and working with that instead of against it. But it’s your own personal flow which is important, and this is a rather personal process. What worries me with this process is will I actually get anything done? Of course if will! That’s just the enemy Fear talking as I try and change my wicked ways of wasting my energy when I work.

I also get worried if I don’t write, then oh no maybe I’m blocked. It’s that enemy Fear coming to visit again. I have to remind myself, that there’s a creative flow that can be ridden without forcing the process. I could still be tired at the end of that wave, but there’s a difference between a good tired and a bad tired. I’ve experienced this with my poetry. Poetry is good to look at and reflect on about my writing process because it's a shorter form and the process is quicker than say writing a novel. There have been times when I haven’t been writing poems and I get worried. What if I can’t write anymore? There’s the enemy Fear again. So I bind Fear, gap him tight, and do a little self-reflection. At the times when I haven’t written poetry, I’ve been busy with other areas of my life, or I’ve been writing a novel, or neck-deep in editing, so it makes sense that I don’t have the creative energy (or creative space) to write a poem. And that’s fine. Because I’m using what energy I have wisely. I don’t have the energy to write poetry right now. Then later, once the novel is out of the way, life is less chaotic, then the poems come flooding out onto the page once more. Ebb and flow. It’s more productive, less stressful if I work with this natural flow.

Here’s a slightly different analogy. When beginning my writing journey I read the book The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Back then I needed to find time in my day to write and stick to it. She unlocked my creativity and off I went on a wave of inspiration. Now, as a more experienced writer, I can fine tune this process so that I can keep writing to my full potential.

“All actions require creative energy. As artists, we must learn to think of our energy the way a person thinks about money—am I spending my energy wisely here, investing in this person, this situation, this use of my time?”
~ Julia Cameron.

I’ve been over spending, well I have been. No wonder I’ve been so tired. I now try and use my creative spending money more wisely. It’s a bit like my spending with real money, sometimes I spend too much, but at least now I realise and then stop spending, so I can recover, ‘recharge’ and then get back into my writing.

Have fun spending your creative currency!


For your chance to win a copy (print or e-book) of my book of poetry, Creating Wings, please leave a comment below.

Life can pluck out your feathers and clip your wings, leaving you stranded and alone.

Until you remember to begin again and create a new set of wings.

You can find me at:


  1. Wow, I must be overdrawn at the creative currency bank. I can clock in at about 10 hrs a day, but tend to average about 5-ish. Oh well, when I'm broke I'm sure there's people out there who don't use a single bit of theirs and so I'll just ask for a loan from them?

    But great post, Lilliana.

  2. I'm impressed you average about 5-ish. I could only maintain that for a few days-max! I wish I could do more for sure - so I should look into getting a creative currency loan ;)

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. whatever creative medium you're used to, it's important to take a break and do something repetitive that doesn't require a lot of active imagination, to allow your right brain to sort out the 'genius' moments. Taking a walk, cleaning the windows, washing up or just having a sleep does wonders for my creative juices. I used to think a 'full-time' artist or writer was the only way to be professional: I realise now that all creative work and no play/down time/left brain exercises/mindless activity/daydreaming/browsing on Facebook/chatting over coffee/part-time job/travelling/volunteering/sex and partying makes Leonardo a very dull boy.

  4. True! It's the times when I'm cleaning the house that I come up with a break through with my writing, some pieces fall together or I work out what's going to happen next.

    It's good to be reminded to get a balance in life, have fun, and do other things! Those things then feedback into the creativity - making for a good time all round ;)

    Thanks for your comment :)

  5. Yep, 3 hrs of creative energy is about it for me. (At least when I'm first drafting. I can edit for longer.) Frustrating, but it is what it is.

    1. Yes it can be frustrating! And true - it's something that can't be forced, it is what it is!
      Thanks Janni for posting :)

  6. Hi, a timely reminder for me, I've been flogging myself to get things done and forget how damaging that can be.

    1. It's an easy trap to fall into - always trying to push forward, but yes it's counter productive and like you said, damaging.
      Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you've thrown away the whip.

  7. Lilliana, I so get this. Creativity is wonderful but very draining. I too can't maintain creative energy for too long. I think it it's best to work to your own ebbs and flows. Great post!