photo by Chelsea Laine Francis
After yesterday’s post on making balance, I thought it would be fun to share my top five tips for maintaining a creative life. Staying on track and pushing through creative blocks can be tough, and these are a few of the ways I keep moving forward.
1. Connect with other creatives. My number one source of creative inspiration comes from being delightfully inundated by creatives all day, every day. I’m in a group text with my girl gang, where we hold each other accountable and bounce ideas off each other. I’ve recently started texting Chelsea constantly too because, damn does that girl inspire me. I’m so excited to stay connected with new and old TxSC gals so we can invite each other out for brainstorming brunches and creative collaborations. If you can find a couple of people who have their own creative pursuits, you can lean on each other for support and stay on track to seeing your goals through. This is a great reason to attend conferences, join Twitter conversations, and leave comments on blogs that inspire you!
2. Know your zone. Trying to set up a productive workspace tends to be pretty futile for me. Too much pressure. Instead of setting up a pretty desk with my gold stapler and jar of freshly sharpened pencils, I know that in order to write, I just need to step away from Dago, my texts and tweets, and especially the TV. It’s more about a headspace than a physical location, and I often find that space in the evening, just after Dago has gone to bed and I shut the television off for the night. Knowing what works for you saves you a lot of time and stress so you can spend that time doing the thing you’re trying to do!
3. Be prepared. I’m the kind of gal who always has at least five drafts in progress, but I also have a stupid-big number of half-written and half-thought out posts in my Notes app at any given time. I seem to come up with the best ideas at three in the morning, while I’m showering or driving (thank goodness for iPhone’s dictation feature!), or in the middle of my work day. If I don’t write down that post idea or perfectly phrased sentence right then, it’s gone forever. Use that phone that’s attached to your palm for good! If handwritten notes are more your style, keep a tiny Moleskine and a reliable pen on you at all times.
4. Try something else. A few weekends ago I was desperate to finish this post, which had taken me over a week to draft. Briley invited me over to make marble paper, and as soon as I got my hands covered in shaving cream and food coloring, the inspiration I had been waiting for hit me. Luckily, I followed tip #3 and had my laptop handy so I could knock out the rest of the post. If you’re experiencing writer’s block or other creative challenges, try a different medium to turn the switch on in your brain that says “let’s make something awesome!”
5. Unplug. When all else fails, I know I need to step away completely: both from the project and my screens. Unplugging is a pretty trendy buzzword these days, but for good reason. Taking a walk, meditating, sitting in the grass and reading or watching the clouds all help me come back to my creative work with a clear head (and maybe even some new ideas!). If you’re too deep into your project, too close to it, or your plate is just too full lately, the best thing can be to step away so that the time you’re spending doing is more effective and efficient.
These are just a few of the things that help me stay focused and keep my brain churning out new ideas, but they definitely aren’t for everyone! What are some of your favorite strategies for maintaining a creative life?