So… what do you think of when you hear the word “creativity“?
Probably something that evokes the feeling of luxuriating in the cool verdant grass of wide open, sun-drenched fields, right? Lying on your back, head propped on the belly of your resting bridle-and-saddle-free horse buddy, chewing on a wheat stalk (or whatever you call ‘em), watching the clouds lazily drift by. Total freedom. Spontaneity. Autonomy. A happy free-floating speck in this huge wondrous existence.
Well, as lovely as that is (and downright necessary from time to time), it’s likely not going to get you very far on that book you’re writing… or on that painting you’ve started … or on the course material you’re revamping.
You know the phrase “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink“?
Well, what if you don’t even lead him to the water?
Right… it’s the same with your creative work: sometimes you’ve gotta gather yourself up, lead yourself to the water, and stay long enough to get thirsty enough to drink… to write… to paint … to compose … to construct.
Ok, without further ado…
3 things to get you to that space of creative flow:
1. Where you do your creative work matters. A LOT.
I’ve been surprised to realize how hard it is to write when I’m sitting at my 7th-floor office desk. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors overlook a vast, open expanse of parking lot, treetops, building tops, and even all the way to the river in the distance. My mind wanders. My heart wanders. I can’t seem to grasp a clear writing path, or stay grounded in the details of what I’m writing.
Yet when I move to the tiny corner of the bedroom, or a high-backed corner-tucked armchair, or the side back table at the coffee shop, I get this beeline focus. And the first thing I’ll do in our new home? Set up my writing corner.
Turns out we often need a little physical containment to, paradoxically, let the ideas and feelings and focus flow.
2. When you do your creative work matters. A LOT.
Creativity loves consistency. Morning, afternoon, or evening — you get to choose what time of day you do your creative work, so long as it’s consistent. Same time every day. For the same amount of time. At the same place.
Oh, I’ve fought this one. ”But I’m not inspired to write every day!” ”But I need VARIETY in EVERYTHING I do creatively!” ”But I just want ONE $@#*! thing that doesn’t have RULES around it!”
But you know what? I write more, and I enjoy it more, and I find inspiration more when I’m consistent. Dammit. Every morning Monday – Friday (I needed that freedom of non-scheduled weekends. Some people don’t), 8:30-9:30 am, I show up with the intention to write. Some days that turns out to be an hour of solid, satisfying, sheer-pleasure writing … and other days it turns out to be one line typed out on my computer. Doesn’t matter. What matters is showing up. Consistently. With the INTENT to create.
3. Accountability matters. A LOT.
If we’re not careful, excuses can keep us away from our creative work for our entire lives. There’s always a “valid” reason not to take the time to do your creative work, always something else that can so easily get in the way.
So harness the power of integrity and set up an agreement for accountability — ask someone else to help hold you to doing your creative work
- at the time you agree to,
- on the days you agree to,
- for the duration you agree to,
- and any other specifics you agree to in service of your creative work.
… then set up exactly how you will report that out to your accountability partner.
I have an agreement with my life/biz coach to email her every day Mon-Fri by 10 am and let her know I’ve written. (Sometimes I’m late on that report b/c I’m too busy writing, but that’s a bit of flexibility I’ve given myself). Most days my email report-out is as simple as “writing. check!” And my coach acknowledges my email with a 1-line comment or just an exclamation point or simply the smiley-face du jour.
So simple, yet oh so very very powerful because a) I’m sticking to my word, and b) I’m not alone in this.
There’s clearly much much more that can be said about all of this, but this can at least get you started on your own creativity block buster plan.
Giddyap horsie… let’s go get some water.
Remember too, that if you want extra support, that’s exactly the sort of thing I offer through Creativity Coaching or Writing Coaching — just contact me to set up a free sample session to test out the coaching experience!