This is a guest post by Michelle Nickolaisen of Wicked Whimsy
We all have so many different things to do in our daily lives – our work, being a good friend and mom and significant other, trying to stay organized, and so on. (You know the drill, I’m sure.) In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, spending time on creative pursuits can seem like an afterthought - but it’s absolutely necessary to do so.
You and I both know that if you have that deep-down craving for creativity, pushing it aside doesn’t do any good – being creative isn’t optional, it’s a must have for a healthy and happy life. If you’re ignoring your creativity, you’re ignoring a part of yourself, leaving it to wither. But if you’ve spent a while doing just that, the very idea of making your creativity a bigger part of your life can seem overwhelming and leave you with no idea where to start. That’s all right! I’ve got some ideas for you – check out the list below.
Replace something in your current schedule. This would ideally be something that you don’t get much out of anyways. If you find yourself watching depressing Lifetime movies every other night, despite the fact that you don’t enjoy it at all, think about replacing that time with a sketching or sewing hour. For this to work, you’ll need to have a good idea of where your time is currently going – try keeping an activity log for a week or so to figure that out.
Write down your ideas. It seems like such a tiny step, but believe me when I say that if you pay attention to your current ideas, more will come. Writing them down or otherwise keeping track of your ideas seems to send a message to your subconscious that says “Hey, I’m here, I’m paying attention, give me your best stuff.” To start this process, you can use Evernote, Google Docs, or even a plain ol’ notebook. (Personally, I use a combination of all three.)
Keep track of your inspiration. This is in the same vein as the above tip about ideas. If you’re actively looking for inspiration, you’ll spot it everywhere when you might have missed it before. And having a “file” of sorts where you’ve got a list of things that inspired you previously can be invaluable when you come across a creative block. My inspiration file includes watching Coraline (or Mirrormask, or Moulin Rouge), looking at old illustrations for fairy tales, and reading graphic novels (currently reading the Fables series – it’s amazing!).
Remember why you love being creative. Write it down, keep ahold of it, and save it for those days when you tell yourself that you don’t have time. The list could include things like “Being creative makes me feel whole”, “I love interpreting the beauty of the world around me”, or “I get a special thrill from making something that’s both gorgeous & functional.” In fact, write the list after one of your creative sessions (whether that’s writing, drawing, sewing, knitting, etc.) when you’re still on the enthusiasm high and the reasons you create are vivid in your mind. Next time you start feeling like it’s too much work to cultivate this part of your life – look at the list and remember why you love it.
In general: make it a priority. Spend time or money (or both!) on your creative pursuits. Go on artist’s dates. Write morning pages. Take a class at a local creative center, community college, or art store – they’re usually fairly inexpensive at all of those places, and by taking a class you’re not only showing yourself that you care enough about this to spend money on it, but giving yourself a regular time and place to show up and be creative. Any time you feel tempted to put your creativity on the back burner, take a deep breath, look at your list, and remind yourself that this is a priority in your life and you’re going to treat it as such.
How do you value your creativity?
Michelle is a rainbow haired writer based in Austin, TX. She writes at Wicked Whimsy about life creation for thoughtful renegades, and just launched Take Back Your Creativity – an ebook + audio kit designed to help you integrate your creative life & your daily life, increase your creative output, and overcome burnout & creative blocks.