I recently read Seth Godin's book The Practice. It's chock full of practical advice. Anyone grappling with the challenges of being "creative" will find it useful.
As I read the book I came to recognize that I haven't written as much as I'd like to over the last year. Why? I can offer lots of excuses. I taught a lot. I advised several students completing theses and related projects. I took on other work and volunteer projects. I joined the Rotary Club of Monterey. I commuted two hours from my home to my workplace. Blah blah blah. The list could go on and on.
What I told myself was, "I'm best in the morning. It's when my thinking is clearest. So, if I don't write in the morning it's not worth my time." I'm referring to blog posts, book reviews, and other academic works.
Godin's primary point is that a practice such as writing demands we commit to it. We need to show up for it regularly. The practice itself matters, not any specific outcome. You have to produce a lot of work--a lot of ideas--in order to produce good material. No one can or should expect to succeed every time out.
In other words, we cannot wait for inspiration. "I don't feel like it" isn't an excuse if we're truly committed to our practice.
I've taken Godin's insights to heart. I'm setting out this year to "create" more. That means writing, although I'm not limiting myself. Posting more regularly here will be one measure of my ability to live up to this commitment.