Unstoppable Creative Habits – When To Fix Them, When To Mix Them

photography by dan james
photography by dan james

Regular creative habits can be the core of an abundant and rewarding creative life.

However, many of us don’t get to appreciate their power and convenience, because we see the word “habit” and think “Oh I couldn’t possibly do the same thing day in, day out, I’m an artist, I need variety and spontaneity!”

With creative habits, you can have variety, and still enjoy the benefits of seeing your life infused with a new energy and momentum.

The trick is knowing how and when to fix them, and how and when to mix them.

For example.

I have a daily yoga practice that I began in October 2010, and have done every day bar a handful ever since.

Every morning, I unfurl my mat, and begin my 15-20 minute session of yoga.

This habit sets me up wonderfully for the day, and gives me not only physical exercise, but mental space and calm.

So, have I been doing exactly the same set of yoga moves at exactly the same time and in exactly the same place each day, for some 1300 days?

Of course not.

My moves have evolved – new ones undertaken, old ones let go of.

(Just a couple of weeks ago I dropped about two thirds of my previous routine and introduced different moves, plus some tai chi exercises.)

The time shifts a little, depending on when others in the household are up and about. Sometimes, if rarely, I do my session in the evening instead.

Most of the time I do it in our bedroom, but sometimes in the front room, in one of the kids’ rooms, or, if we’re away, wherever’s convenient.

(Yoga outdoors up in the Welsh mountains under the stars was pretty special…)

In summary, there’s been a fair bit of “mixing” with my yoga practice over the years.

But some elements have remained very fixed –

I do it every morning, for 15-20 mins, and end with five daily gratitudes.

The strength comes from the fixed elements – a consistency that becomes almost indestructible, and as unstoppable as a circus train full of animals hurtling down a mountainside.

The variety comes from changing small aspects, letting the practice evolve, like a back garden gradually evolves, even if it’s left unattended.

Other examples of creative habits in my life are writing these letters to you for A Big Creative Yes, and taking photographs.

Both are practices I do weekly if not more often, and have a powerful momentum because of that regular commitment.

But again, they both have distinct variation in when I do them, where I do them, what I actually feel compelled to write about or photograph, and so on.

Parts are fixed, parts are mixed.

So if you’ve read about creative habits before and reacted as we first talked about above, feeling you couldn’t possibly introduce something that sounds so constraining, maybe it’s time for a rethink.

Because once that circus train gets motoring, all those endless wasted hours debating whether to create today or not, become a thing of the past.

You’ll be too busy just getting on with creating what matters.

With powerful, flexible and variable creative habits in place, we all better take a couple of steps back, as there’s very little anyone can do to stop you.

What are your experiences of creative habits?

How do you fix them, and mix them?

Join the conversation, we’d love your input.


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