At the beginning of the year, I realized what’s wrong with me–I’m a creative.
It wasn’t until we moved to the Nashville area that I understood that it’s not what you do, it’s a personality type. People from all over the world come to Nashville to follow their dreams and find their own kind. Writers, artists, recording artists and songwriters–all creatives from every area of the arts flourish and wither here.
Living with your creativity is a challenge. Making a living with it is a lot like trying to make two marriages work at once.
Creatives of all genres want a muse. Every artist has watched with amazement as their best work flowed effortlessly through their fingertips as though they were the instrument, not the creator.
Call her what you like. Although she is fickle, selfish and obstinate, she is a most desired companion. She is the whisperer of the words to a song in the middle of the night. She is the unseen hand atop your brush as it glides across the canvass. She is wisdom. She is color, song and prose. She sows thoughts in the mind that blossom at the fingertips. She is your creative self, set free.
Without her, the fields of creativity are rough, rocky and require long hours of toil– often abandoned, and left to lay fallow.
With her at your side, the creative life is a joy and new every morning–but if you wait on her to feed you, you will become an artist all right–a starving artist.
As any marriage partner, she is to be treated with respect, courted and never taken for granted.
But first, you have to know where to find her.
Julia Cameron explains in The Artist’s Way:
“Each of us has an inner compass. This is an instinct that points us to health. It warns us when we are on dangerous ground, and it tells us when something is safe and good for us. Morning pages are one way to contact it. So are some other artist-brain activities- painting, driving, walking, scrubbing, running. This week take an hour to follow your inner compass by doing an artist-brain activity and listening to what insights bubble up.”
This week I’ve discovered that simple things we may or may not do, will nurture your creativity and attract your muse.
Setting aside time to be your creative best is not the same as walking into a cubical and booting up. We all know what sets our creative juices flowing. We usually stumble across them in our daily lives, they are everyday occurrences. Why not string them together around a typical work day? Better yet make them ingrained habits that are painful to break.
Since January, at the beginning of this series, I’ve faithfully written my morning pages. Doing so, is my main form of communication with my creative self, or “inner compass.” It’s now a habit. Up until this week, that’s pretty much where it left off. This week I did some reevaluating.
My best time of the day to write or do anything at all that requires thought is the morning hours. As the day wears on, I lose brain cells. By the evening, if I haven’t already planned dinner, we’re most likely looking at a bowl of popcorn. Knowing this, I would try getting my high priority items off my list early on. Priority planning. That’s a good use of time right?
Not if you are trying to create. By stacking all my most important to-do list items in the morning hours, I drained my most productive time, rather than fed it. By nurturing and protecting your creative time, you will effectively boost your productivity.
All it really took was a simple shift in the activities I already do. I added one new habit of walking daily. My morning routine usually consisted of starting my morning pages with my first cup of coffee, then heading into my home office and beginning my day. Fear of losing brain cells made me want to guard that time and work as hard as I could during those hours.
The new routine consists of dressing as soon as I get up, then heading out the door for a walk before I can talk myself out of it, grabbing a bottle of water on the way out. Then I settle down for my morning pages and coffee. After a shower I actually get dressed for the day and head into the office. By stringing three of my strongest creative-brain activities together at the onset of the day, I’m effectively flipping every switch on.
Leaving your lights on will draw your muse like a moth to the flame.
When do you get your flashes of brilliance?
It’s not too late to join the conversation — get the Kindle version of The Artist’s Way.