I have always looked forward to little pockets of time to create my art. Whether it be 10min or an hour. Usually, these pockets of time were found on the weekends, holidays or vacations. But often, weeks and months would creep by without those pockets of time coming my way (because everything else took precedence)… and subsequently weeks or months would pass without me having created anything whatsoever.
Creating routinely is not something that has ever happened naturally for me. I have two young children, work full time as an engineer and recently started a creativity coaching practice. I know it is a lot and some may say I’m crazy for attempting to balance it all… but it’s a beautiful mix that satisfies this multi passionate being.
So, how does one do all of this and create routinely? Where on earth can art fit into this picture? Well there is an answer!
Within Eric Maisel’s course “Introduction to Creativity Coaching”, we discussed the concept of developing a “creativity practice”.
Dr. Maisel notes “… you will have to create ‘in the middle things’. There will never be a perfect, ideal time in your life to create. There will always be worries, doubts, fears, responsibilities, duties, relationship pressures, work pressures, and every possible manner of life pressure getting in the way.“
Dr. Maisel assures us that there will ALWAYS be a reason you don’t have time and there will never be a perfect time. So if you’re more interested in excuses, you’ll have many to choose from. But if you’re interested in solutions, here is where we begin: developing a creativity practice.
What is a Creativity Practice?
So what exactly is a creativity practice? The goal a creativity practice is to form an enjoyable habit which quietly increases your quality of life and purpose, invites connection and reflection. It quiets anxiety and reduces stress. I spent much of March trying to determine what my creativity practice would entail and how I could “make the time” to do what I love.
Currently, my practice is best described as a ‘morning creativity practice‘. I wake each day at 5am. I take 15min to think for a bit, get out of bed, visit the bathroom etc. Then I make a cup of tea and head to my little painting space where I create until 6:15/6:30am. I only create for just over hour max, but over the course of a week I can see the culmination of my effort and that’s what counts! It’s something, and for now it’s enough for me my passion is incorporated into each and every day.
How Do I Develop a Creativity Practice?
Developing a creativity practice is something I have recommended to my creativity coaching clients in the past, but it’s funny how you don’t recognize when your own advice pertains to you too (no judgment folks!).
So how can you develop a creativity practice? I’ve developed a free printable for you to use as a guide! Using the printable together with the below 4? steps, you can design a successful practice that is unique to you:
- Keep it Simple
- Focus on Discipline versus Motivation
- Enjoy and Grow
1. Keep it Simple
Many people struggle with implementing a creativity practice because they make it too complicated and incorporate unreasonable expectations.
Don’t write out a long to-do list. That’s not the goal here. The idea is to identify a simple achievable goal, whether it be painting every day for 40min, doing one doodle in your sketch per day, writing a sentence a day, a paragraph a day, reading 15min each day or 20min of yoga per day… it can be anything, but keep it simple!
Be specific, choose your tools, time and place in advance. Making these decisions in advance will help reduce the number of decisions you need to make during your practice so that can truly focus on creating. When time is precious, you don’t want to waste it.
- WHAT: Choose your outcome – what will you produce during your practice? Remember, keep it simple!
- HOW: Choose your tools – pen, pencil, paper. Keep it simple, you don’t need the perfect tools, you just need something to get you started.
- WHERE: Choose your location – you may prefer a location that is quiet, away from people and distractions (perhaps a small corner in your home) or you may prefer a noisy coffee shop. Decide on the locations that works best for you.
- WHEN: Choose a time – It’s best to maintain the exact same time daily. This helps to build a routine that your body and mind can easily adjust to. You may prefer early mornings like myself when your mind feels refreshed and uncluttered by the stress of the day. Or perhaps you prefer late evenings once everything is done and out of the way. But be careful to ensure that you’re not too fatigued. It’s easy to shelve our creative practice and turn our attention to other things that spill over from the day.
3. Focus on Discipline versus Motivation
A successful creativity practice is primarily due to discipline, not motivation. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we will not be motivated to create every day. Life just doesn’t work that way. But we can be disciplined to create every day.
When my alarm goes off at 5am, excited and motivated are not feelings that automatically typically come to me, it’s more like “I’m tired” or “this feels crazy”… but once I’m up and about I feel much better. And of course once I’m done, I feel accomplished, inspired and satisfied that I have not let the day pass without pursing something that I love and something that deeply interests me. It’s great to come home after a long day and see the creative work you accomplished early this morning on the easel… as oppose to looking at a blank easel saying “I hope I have time one day”… (the latter use to be my story for a long time).
So, I encourage you to focus on discipline because motivation will come and go every week as is naturally human. If it helps, share your goals with a fellow creative or on your social media accounts. Sometimes we hold ourselves more accountable when we publicly declare our aspirations.
4. Enjoy and Grow
Last but least, remember that whilst a creativity practice may often be a form of work, it is important that you try to enjoy the process. This should be fulfilling satisfying work. There will be moments of frustration, procrastination and resistance as is normal. But do not fear those days, or be hard on yourself for those are the instances when we tend to experience the most growth.
Finally, remember that we change… so there will be moments when you need to make adjustments to your practice to better suit you.
My hope is that once you begin your journey to developing and holding a creative practice – you will find the time satisfying, inspiring and well spent.
Do you need an extra boost? Download my free creativity practice worksheet and get to brainstorming! And please keep in touch, let me know your successes and your struggles.
SUBSCRIBE & DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE