Finding time for creativity
A note from the editor (Steve) — JP wrote this post almost a year ago, but for some reason we never posted it. Must have been fear, I guess.
Tonight, I’m posting it for him. Sorry buddy!
We recently released our first episode - Jess Croft is Creatively Satisfied. On listening, a friend of ours described her reaction as “Inspiring from an ‘I need to do more creative things to fill my well standpoint’. It so often gets pushed to the backburner…”
Her reaction got me thinking - being creatively satisfied is something anyone would aspire to. If someone asked you how you feel in terms of creativity and you could respond “I’m creatively satisfied,” you’d be feeling solid about your current state.
Truth be told, anyone can struggle to make time for their creative joy. In our second episode - Maret Bondorew is the Bees Knees - Maret mentions two points - point one is a common assumption: “If it’s your passion you should be… doing it all the time.” But in point two, she admits that this isn’t always the case: “For myself, I just have a hard time getting off my butt and actually doing it sometimes.” A full-time artist can be challenged to put in the work sometimes.
At any given point i’m in the “hard time getting off my butt” camp. There’s a strong chance if you’re someone who doesn't professionally pursue all of their creative outlets and you’re reading this - you feel the same way.
Why aren’t you just doing it?
Saying no is an important skill that lets you keep your attention on making your best work.
You're putting the time in but in a thousand different ways. You're being creative all the time but never finishing any one thing before you move onto the next thing.
There's two sides to this one. One side is - maybe it doesn't matter! If it's the process that makes you happy then who cares if you finish it. It's just for you and that's enough.
But if you do want to see it completed, letting it linger can cause stress and disappointment.
You know something is your top priority because you’re already doing it.
You want to do the creative thing, but you don't make time for it. I wouldn't be writing right now if I didn't have a reason driving me and a cadence to do it on. There's a pressure because Steve and I are working on something that is inspired by transformation, ideas and creativity. It's a good motivator. (Fun fact, one of my undergrads was English with a focus in creative writing. Ironically, I didn't finish the degree by two classes).
Ideas need time to grow, to be nurtured, and they will come if you seek them.
The ideas just aren’t coming, and nothing inspires you. This feels a bit like infatuation to me. In a relationship infatuation is an intense driver. But it’s also short-lived. There have been studies showing infatuation can last for as long as two years, but as little as two months. At some point there is work to be done to keep a relationship going.
I think for many people creativity is the same. If you don’t know how to put in the work then at some point your creativity rush will wear off and you won’t do it anymore.
Creativity is an aspect of your life that needs nurturing, attention, and focus.
You can love something but not be doing it. I see this as no reason to give up entirely. Like the relationship post-infatuation that needs to grow and mature, you need to learn how to grow and mature your creative pursuits.
Do you think writers always want to write? Even if they always want to write it doesn’t mean they ever want to finish anything. If I start 500 stories and finish 0 but I’m constantly compelled to write, does that make me a more creatively purpose driven person? Am I more creative than the person who enjoys writing, has to figure out ways to stay motivated, but also finishes everything they start?
Look inside yourself: Do you keep starting new things because you’re afraid to release your ideas into the world for others to see?
I have about 50 drafts of blog posts that have never seen the light of day because I get ideas, noodle on them and never finish them. Personally I'd rather have more finished products than piles of unfinished ones (I think everyone will have a mix, but if you err on the side of finishing then that seems ideal).
Finding a path forward
Regardless of why you aren’t doing the creative work, or how you think creativity should work for you, I think we can all find ways to let creativity grow a more permanent and consistent place in our lives. But finding the will from within is one of the biggest challenges.
So next time we’ll talk about the role I think relationships play in all this, and how they can be a jumpstart to your creative flow and focus. Talk soon!