When Creativity Gets Cramped: 5 Tips
It's one of those days. I walked out to my Shedquarters in my slippers, coffee in one hand, laptop in the other with the best of intentions. I had taken a few minutes to put on makeup and braid my hair with a ribbon in it. I sat at my desk, opened up my laptop and starred at the screen. My eyes darted back and forth between my digital "to do" list, my inbox, and external hard drive (the place where all my photographs are stored). 5 hours later, I'm still staring. Sure, I was able to knock out a few emails. I was even successful with a conference call. However my heart keeps looking at the external drive and all the wonderful pictures just waiting for me to give them attention and unleash them.
As a creative, what do you do when what feeds your soul, gets cramped into the chores of the day? Below are 5 tips to fueling your life with creativity amid chaos and schedules:
I really don't fancy this word. My right brain balks at the word and even scoffs at it. And yet as I break down my day, my week and my month, I realize that when I'm most organized and disciplined I accomplish more and I have time to freely create without tasks hanging over my head or guilt nudging me to step away. Discipline is the sail on the voyage to creativity.
2) Time Block
When I was single and living in Kentucky, each Thursday night I would drive directly from my office and head 45 minutes into the countryside. Upon arrival at the art studio, my canvas and paints would be waiting for me, along with 8 women who quickly became surrogate aunts. Those sweet days have long since passed, and so now my mother and I schedule each Thursday to gather together, pull out our oils and paint. If I'm not intentional with time blocking for creativity, life gets in the way.
My sweet husband encourages me to take time to runaway and be creative. With his blessing, I have the freedom to schedule time to create and do so without constraints. Time blocking is the rudder to the ship.
My dear sweet friend, Katie is an extraordinary writer and over coffee one morning she shared with me me that she is most inspired to write when she reads. After reflecting on this pearl of wisdom, I realized that I'm most inspired to paint after seeing the works of others. Hearing someone speak, reading a few thoughts, or seeing a color on canvas can light a fire that fans into inspiration. Creative influence is the rope to the ship, it ties things together.
If I only wrote, photographed or painted when I felt inspired, I would be years behind where I am now. Oftentimes inspiration only comes to me once I've sat down and type the first paragraph, mixed a few colors, or initiated the first capture through the shutter. This is especially true if you're feeling like life has cramped your creativity. Refer to point number 2, set aside time to be creative and just "do".
Perhaps I should have began with this point, but somehow by ending with it I feel as if I'm beginning. Each of us have been given a gift. If you're still searching for what that gift might be, pray and ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Once we've identified that gift, we are called to steward the gift, work it, and grow it. When you reach that place where you are doing the work (great or small), something clicks and you know you're in sync with purpose. It's a beautiful feeling and one I often experience when I'm in the field photographing when the light comes together with a scene I've composed. In that moment, my eyes turn up, sometimes I left my hands and I thank Him who equipped me to create. He's the captain, the wheel and the vessel of this creative voyage.