For most of us that call ourselves artists, the idea of routine usually sends us running to the hills at full speed, screaming out loud that we can’t possibly succumb to any kind of fixed routine, as it will kill our spontaneity, imagination and creativity.
If you put your creativity in chains, it’ll struggle briefly, then give up and die, surely?
In fact, the opposite is true.
When we become brave enough to experiment a little with routines and boundaries, what nearly all of us who do this find is that it actually increases our creativity and opens the floodgates of our imagination like never before.
We get to glimpse, then gaze, then hold close and take to bed with us, that kind of SuperCreativity that we still believed in, but saw as an increasingly distant and almost unattainable dream.
Routine can obviously mean different things for different people.
I’m not suggesting your routine should be so fixed that you must show up at exactly 7.03 every morning and write precisely 274 words over 39 lines about the meaning of loss to a 49 year old woman, having just got out of bed and thrown on the same clothes that you wore yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.
(Though if this routine works for you and leads to some of your best writing, please feel free to use it!)
A creative routine CAN be very specific, but I would suggest you first dip your toe in rather more gently, and try something simple.
Like, show up and create for 5 minutes every morning.
Once you set even the loosest of outlines like this, it begins a pattern. It trains your creativity to turn up and deliver, rather than be wandering around in a daze waiting to be called upon, which might not happen for days or weeks on end.
Imagine being told you were going to be called for jury service any time in the next four weeks, and had to do nothing but just sit at home by the phone waiting for the call. You’d go crazy!
Whereas if you were told you going to be needed for two hours each day for the next 10 days, between 9am and 11am, you could just get on with it, and fit it into your life.
Although I don’t believe that you can kill your creativity outright, I definitely know that if you neglect and ignore your creative talents they will cower and shrivel like once ripe and juicy fruit left out on a counter in the hot sun for weeks on end.
There are simple ways to keep your creativity thriving, and developing routines is at the core of it all.
The key, as with anything I can offer you or teach you, is to take this idea and make it your own. Experiment, play with it, tweak it, adjust it, until it works best for you and your unique circumstances.
Much as I might like there to be, as it would make my role here far easier, there isn’t an across the board one size fits all magic formula for being at your most SuperCreative.
Creating every day and finding the routines that work for you are central, but within those there is the flexibility you can use to make them work extraordinary well specifically for you.
If you prefer to create in the evenings, or late at night when everyone is asleep and you’re all alone, then trying to force yourself to create in the middle of a bustling coffee shop at 8.30 every morning isn’t going to get you anywhere, and will only frustrate you.
Find the new routines that work for you, by experimenting a little at a time.
You already know yourself far better than you think you do, so you’re not starting completely from a place of ignorance. You already have a good hunch of what time of day you prefer creating, where you feel most creative, whether you work better in company or alone, whether you need an abundance of materials to hand or create better with as few as possible, and so on.
Start with your best guess at the routine(s) that will allow you to find your SuperCreativity, and then make little adjustments, one at a time, from there.
Then once they start to settle in place, especially the daily ones, you’ll begin to form a creative streak.
The longer the streak runs, the more powerful it becomes, and the easier it becomes.
You forget about waking up each day, looking at your schedule to find out what you have planned and seeing your 20 minutes of creativity penciled in. You just do it, you won’t need to write it down anymore because it will come as naturally as breathing and eating and sleeping.
And yes, that’s how important being creative every day is to us creative people!
What routines do you already have in place that allow you to be creative? What new routines are you going to try in the coming days?
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