I often hear people say they lack any time to be creative. Even I sometimes reach the end of the day dejected because I never found the time to sit and write. Recently, I felt especially miserable at how much I have neglected my art.
Many creatives, entrepreneurs and influences encourage us to be creative every day, to make it a habit that cultivates feelings of positivity and a sense of accomplishment. The problem is many of us rarely have the time to carve out our dream creative practice. Or if we do manage to create a routine, it never sticks.
So what is the alternative? Realise where in your life you are already being creative.
Become conscious of where you are already being creative.
We spend our days rushing around while our heads are projecting and planning out future tasks to do or worrying about this, that, and the other. When we shift our focus to the present and become conscious of our actions, we can observe how creative we are in our day-to-day lives.
Find moments of creativity in mundane routines.
Repetitive actions put us on autopilot. Cooking is a perfect example for me. I delve into the cupboards and the fridge/freezer, seeing what ingredients I have and what meals I could possibly make from them. I choose one and cook it.
If you are like me and do the majority of the cooking, you stop noticing its creative aspects, and the enjoyment of preparing a meal becomes a chore. By reconnecting and consciously focusing on what you are doing, you become more engaged and perhaps rekindle the joy in what may have become a mundane task.
Start to notice the daily tasks where you are being creative. It may be as simple as styling your hair in the morning or something more laborious, such as making bread from scratch. All these actions (big and small) required our creative input, and we should celebrate them.
Mindfulness is a term thrown around a lot, but it simply means being conscious of something, in this case, becoming conscious of our creativity.
When we become mindful of our creativity, we can spot other areas where we can nurture it. Perhaps instead of reading a bedtime story to your child, you make one up instead. When you’re stuck on hold, you doodle on your notepad. In the coffee shop, you quickly sketch people passing by the window. When commuting to work, you let your imagination toy with the next scene in your book.
Remember, life will continuously get in the way.
Often we reach the end of the day and grumble how we had plans to write/paint/go out with the camera to catch the sunset but never found an opportunity to because life got in the way.
With that thought, your brain sends signals around the body to start producing chemicals and hormones that will make you feel like shit because you never achieved what you planned to do. Then you feel like shit for the remainder of the day, or maybe longer.
Does it ever seem strange how much negative talk we are happy to inflict upon ourselves when we would be much more understanding and encouraging if we were speaking to another person?
Stoics knew it was pointless trying to believe you could control everything. Stuff will happen that is beyond your control, and it might make you angry or upset, but there is nothing you can do. I put the washing out to dry on a day which is supposed to be sunny, but a freak rain cloud bursts overhead and drenches everything. It makes me annoyed, but I put it out because I based my decision on the knowledge I had at the time. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.
‘You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.’Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Give your creativity some gratitude.
Instead of grumbling about your lack of creativity, reframe your thoughts so you show gratitude for those small moments where you were creative. Instead of grumbling, I had to cook dinner. I can be grateful I made something surprisingly tasty with a few tinned pulses, some veg, and a bit of inspiration.
We find it easier to focus on the creative parts we want to cultivate more of. But by zooming out and reminding ourselves how broadly creativity can apply to all aspects of our lives, we can feel more positive about our creative practice.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
What creative things do you do daily? Please share them in the comments.
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