In my head, I have always been a creative person.
Outwardly, not so much.
I didn’t do creative things, much less create art
I am not a musician, nor artist, and when I did write it was infrequent and for my eyes only.
But I wanted to be a creative person
I’ve always looked up to creative people; artists, poets, writers, painters, sculptors. But I wrote off my own writing as uncreative, unoriginal, poorly done. Little wonder then it’s always been a struggle to write consistently.
Look I’ll admit it; I don’t like to do things I’m not good at, and I define things I’m not good as things that are not effortless. It’s not the best definition, but we’re not here to judge, right?
I resist increasing energy output levels; I always have. My favorite things to do growing up were not mentally nor physically taxing. I loved to read and make up story lines for my dolls. Both of these activities sitting-friendly, resulting in me spending hours curled on the ground, letting my imagination run wild while my body very much did not.
I don’t like to write because it’s hard for me and in the tricky way of consciousness, I was convinced it was only me who struggled. Others wrote novels, short stories, poetry, blog posts. My brain stuttered over a blank page and I closed my laptop disappointed in myself time and time again. I know that improvement is simply a matter of statistically probably correlated to effort output; that is to say; practice makes everyone better, it’s simply a matter of how much natural talent comes out in the process.
Recently I read Why We Write, a edited collection of 20 authors explaining why they write and what their process looks like. Unsurprisingly, the most common reoccurring themes were:
- Writing is challenging and occasionally downright painful
- The only way to get better is to practice
- All great writers are great readers
Maybe I don’t want to practice for fear that I won’t get better, that I will always be disappointed in my own work. Which are we more afraid of; our failure or our success?
In any event, I have found myself faced with the unprecedented opportunity to practice my writing. The next question in my mind becomes, what does a creative person do? What are healthy creative habits? Hobbies? Activities?
What does the routine of a creative person look like?
It is startling to have such utter and complete control over my time, and indeed I find myself often repulsed by my ability to make all of my own decisions, convinced I do not know enough, am not good enough.
So it becomes a matter of becoming a creative person then, if you are not born one. A creative beginner is just as much of a creative person as the advanced artist. What does a creative person do with their time? How do they organize their day?
Without the external structure of a 9-5 to form my day around, I suddenly find myself with little to no direction to fill the hours. I alone am responsible for keeping myself on track, a daunting proposition. I am flighty, distractable, prone to weather-dependent mood swings.
The answer appears to take shape in the form of a working routine, a structure to the activity of my days and repetitive weekly tasks to come full circle on my task list; to work in my business as well as on it (a challenging balance that will be mused upon another day).
On the one hand, how does recording my ramblings (musings, for the sake of positive framing) help me become a better writer? My own opinion is hardly literary.
But I think it comes down to the foundations of our habits. We are curiously habit driven creatures and departure from the norm is an enormous energy expenditure. So if we can make small shifts over extended periods of time, we are able to accomplish greater sustainable changes. The simple act of writing the constant narration running inside my head helps me focus on my client work and allows me to sit down at the computer and simply type for however long it takes to churn one of these out. It is also an additional form of content. If I am spending my days on my business blog, client work, journaling and all the other numerous aspects that come with running a business, it leaves little time or brain power for the creative work I find myself drawn to time and time again. So to sit down and allow myself to muse upon any give topic, I am expanding my range and keeping in good practice with writing habits.
I would not have guessed a routine would be the answer for flourishing creativity, but there is solace and comfort to be found in the structure, particularly on low, gray days.