Does Your Creative Life Need a Tune Up? Part 2
“Desire for an idea is like bait. You’re fishing, and you have to have patience. You bait your hook, and then you wait. The desire is the bait that pulls those fish in those ideas.”David Lynch
by Michele T. Berger
Part 1 ran in our April 2021 edition. See part 1 by clicking here.
In April, I began a series on spring cleaning for your creative life. There are three steps in my process:
1) You reassess your space, your schedule, and patterns of mind to see what is supporting or not supporting your creative life.
2) You reorganize your space, schedule, and patterns of minds to allow you to create with more ease.
3) After reassessing and reorganizing, you rededicate yourself to having a productive and joyful creative life!
If you’ve spent some time reassessing your space, schedule, and patterns of mind in connection to your creative life, then you should be in great shape for the next step which is reorganizing.
Think about physical space
Is your creative space now set up so that everything is easily at hand? If you are a writer, consider where your pens, notebooks, and treasured and often referenced craft books are placed. If you work with fabrics, consider how and where your materials are housed–have you gathered up various tools, small and oddly shaped items and given them a suitable home? What does the surface of your primary workspace look like (e.g., desk, drafting table)? Is it accessible?
Have you moved small and large items around to make your space more nurturing? Is there adequate lighting? Would rearranging art pieces, framed diplomas, or certificates make sense? If you have plants in the space, do they need some tending?
Most writers (and creatives generally) keep inspirational quotes somewhere nearby, either on a corkboard, white board, or piece of paper tacked to the wall. If you have a set of quotes near where you write, do these quotes still carry the same emotional weight as when you put them up? Do they fit with the creator that you are now versus the creator you were? Do you need fresh visual inspiration?
Does your creative space allow for some growth? New opportunities that come your way may impact your physical space. During the pandemic, I’ve found myself creating videos and doing more live streaming. Over time, I have invested in tripods, ring lights, and photography backdrops. I needed to find proper spaces for those items when I wasn’t using them.
Besides thinking of what’s working or not working in your physical space, you might also want to evaluate how and when you make time for your creative work.
Spring and then summer bring new rhythms into our life that can support our creativity. How can we reorganize our schedule to take advantage of this energy? How do we cultivate the patience and spaciousness of mind so that we catch those wonderful ideas that David Lynch refers to?
Here are some tips:
Move your practice outside for some of this season. If possible, take opportunities to write at the beach, at the lake, or at a local or state park.
Take more advantage of the longer periods of light. Can you rise a half hour earlier to take your photographs or try writing later in the day during the season’s glorious sunsets?
Reorganizing your schedule could mean breaking up tasks in a different way during the day. For example, you could do fresh writing in the early morning and then editing over lunch.
l When I’m frustrated with my schedule, I remind myself there are several requests or tasks I said yes to without giving myself the proper time to consider how it might impact my creative work. And by this I mean not just time I have allocated for physical writing at the computer, but all of the processes that are involved in creating (i.e., incubating, brainstorming, researching, revising, etc.). A good practice is to keep a visible list of what external responsibilities and tasks you have already committed to for the quarter. Gauge what stage your current creative project is in and how many hours it might need during the quarter. Put that on the list too. Then as non-urgent requests pop-up you can quickly see whether saying yes will support your creative project, have no effect, or steal hours away from it.
Michele Tracy Berger is a scholar and creative writer. She is founder of The Creative Tickle®, a creativity coaching practice. To receive her free guide: Ten Ways to Keep Connected to Your Writing Self during COVID-19 go to: https://mailchi.mp/creativetickle/tenways.