…well, maybe lunch. What do you need to be your best creative self? Here are a few things I've found to be helpful (when I remember to practice them). How about you? Let me know in the comments.
1 – Quiet (Pause)
It's so helpful to the creative mind to pause. This moment of quiet comes best early in the day.
For some people, this is a time of stillness meditation. For others (like me), this might involve physical motion while enjoying the silence. As I write this, we're in the time of pandemic lockdown, so quiet is easy to come by. Perhaps we can find practices during this time that will benefit us for years to come.
2 – Breathe (Cleanse)
Following the breath clears away stuff that can get in the way of creativity. This is a crucial practice for creatives like you and me. We must remember to breathe and breathe deeply.
3 – What I Need (Practice Self-awareness)
One of the essentials for pretty much any human being is to attend to what we need. Ironically, it also seems to be one of the easiest things to forget. For whatever reason, I can gloss over this crucial moment too many times. Of course, if I do that too many times my need will begin to magnify itself.
Take this simple example: Let's say my need is to take a shower. The longer I go without one, the more I'll sweat, get dirty, and then get smelly. Whether it's my own sense or that of someone around me, I'll eventually get to the point that it's no longer about self-awareness; it becomes absolute necessity. Practicing regular self-awareness — “What do I need now?” — helps you or me get what is important to my well-being. Getting this allows us to move on to inspiration and creative work.
4 – Read (Get Inspired)
Some creatives read books. Some read the news (but watch out for overload on this one). For others, “reading” might actually be listening to a podcast or taking in our favorite blog.
Let's be clear: the reading I'm talking about here is not catching up on Facebook. That's a different kind of activity altogether. Save that for another time. One when you have a ton of time and don't necessarily need to be inspired for your next project.
5 – Write (Morning Pages)
Do you journal? If not, I highly recommend it. My practice of morning pages comes and goes, but my most creative times are when I am practicing them.
Oh, right — you may not know about morning pages. Well, decades ago, Julia Cameron wrote a book named “The Artist's Way”. It was incredibly influential for the lives of many creatives that I've known over the years. One of the main practices in it was “morning pages” in which one writes in stream-of-consciousness for a period of time. Check it out or if you already know about it, maybe it's time to try these again.
6 – Water and Coffee (2 Sides of Self-Nurture)
We human beings need nuture. For me, there are two sides of self-nurture: the essential and the craving. There is no ignoring what our bodies absolutely require. We need water, food, and some protection from the elements.
The other side is what we crave. Though we don't need to overfeed these cravings (that may just turn out to be addiction), there can be significant returns when we give ourselves some of our simple desires. These may be chocolate, a bath, or other forms of sensual reward. I suspect that most of use do this whether on a limited or regular basis. What about making it an intentional practice?
7 – Say “Hello” (Human Connection)
We also need human connection. During the pandemic lockdown, I've been more aware of this than ever. We are not “social distancing” as so many people are saying (though physical distancing is important to help flatten the curve). Or, if we are avoiding conversation and being social, we're asking for trouble. What we always need is to be in relationship with other people. So, be sure to say “hello” to someone you care about. That may be more inspiring than you can imagine.
These seven suggestions are in no particular order. Each of us may find that some are more important to us than others. Try them out. What works for you?