First, let me preface this rather egotistical post (who am I to be telling you all how to jump start your creative process?) with a disclaimer: I’m new to blogging. Can you tell? This is my second post. But in a Digital Storytelling class I attended, I was directed to this ridiculous and pretty wonderful site which helps would-be bloggers come up with topics! It’s true, you can find anything on the internet.
Second disclaimer: I do have some experience as a painter, writer, seamstress, cook, and very amateur musician about the creative process. If this is enough to convince you to read on, then I’ve done my work for the day. And why 9? Because 10 was too many.
- Make creativity a daily habit. So maybe you don’t have time to paint an entire picture, or write five chapters, or sew your entire quilt, but you do have time to quickly sketch out an idea that’s been bumping around in your head—even if it’s on a napkin at the Burrito Boy. Do a little something every day. Here’s a cool site to help with that.
- Related to the above post–Make time to create! I know, the toilets need cleaning, FB needs checking, the cat horffed up a hairball on the one patch of carpet in the entire house and that needs tending, but really at some point these lists of tasks are just good old-fashioned procrastination. Taking the time (even if it means giving up something else “important”) is vital to your mental, emotional, spiritual well-being. Creating seems ingrained in the human system–don’t relegate it to the last line of your to-do list.
- Make a cup of tea. The Japanese have a whole ceremony you know: “Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart.” http://japanese-tea-ceremony.net. So maybe I don’t go to quite that level when I stop what I’m doing at 10 a.m. each morning to make a cup of tea, but in effect, it does the same thing. By stopping and pouring my attention into the careful action of making my perfect cup of tea, I allow my mind the expansiveness to boost my creative energy. Plus, if you drink PG Tips or Yorkshire Tea by Taylors of Harrogate, it tastes AMAZING (with cream and sugar of course).
- Find others who will support your process. Even if it’s one person, and that person is only 7 years old, having someone believe in you and what you’re doing is extremely powerful. Find your peeps and use them shamelessly.
- Use positive self-talk. Does that sound like new-age psychobabble? Or possibly, you children of 80’s SNL, Stewart Smally? But we humans tend to spend a lot of time in our heads, and while there, we berate the folks we find hanging out around the water cooler; and the only folks hanging out there, regardless of what you may think, are all you. Be kind. Tell yourself you are worth the time and what you create is important—even if not for the world, for you.
- Pet your pet. When you’re feeling blocked, or have so much going on in your head that you can’t even seem to catch one thread, doing something meditative, like petting your cat or dog (or a stuffy if you don’t have a live one), can allow the silt to settle so that you can see the bottom of the lake.
- Feed yourself. This may seem obvious, but when you’re trying to cram your creative time into a window of 15 minutes between kids’ soccer games, work, and your book club, you may forget. And make it real food (my shout out to both Michael Pollan and my mother who always fed us home-cooked meals. I didn’t know what Kraft Mac N Cheese was until I was in middle school and had it at a friend’s. Sorry Darcy, it was terrible).
- Listen to music. ‘Nuff said.
- Eat something crunchy. I remember reading about kinetic learners who do better in school when chewing on a pencil, and I know that when I’m writing and really thinking hard, I pull out a jar of almonds. I can plow through a whole pint in one sitting if I’m not careful (Blue Diamond loves me) but the crunching really helps me focus.