13 Sep How to be Creative. Part 4. Clear some (head)space
(Before the summer I wrote three posts about creativity, you can read the first one here. This is part 4.)
I want to live a creative life, of making and discovering, of spontaneity and hard work.
But I have a problem in achieving this and I don’t think I am alone: My life is too full.
My cupboards and counter-tops are full, my inbox and to-do list is full.
My day is full of errands and requests to be fulfilled for the small (and not so small!) people I am care for.
My mind is full of their hopes and needs and desires and expectations, and whether or not I will be able to meet them.
My life is full of food that needs cooking, rooms that need cleaning, washing that needs doing, presents that need buying, lifts that need giving, homework that needs doing (because we all know how homework goes down, right?!)
And, I am not a very organised person.
I am a scatterbrain with a splatter-gun approach to my life.
I am an enthusiast. Frequently inspired, rarely focussed.
And I struggle to get to the thing I really want to do.
Space for creativity gets squeezed out.
So I have decided to clear some space.
But before I clear my desk, or set aside a number of hours in which to work, I need to make some room in my mind.
To do this I have to prioritise myself. Which it turns out is difficult, especially if you are not used to it. It feels awkward – a bit showy, or self-indulgent.
But no one else will prioritise your creative endeavours.
No one is going to come to you one day and tell you it is your turn, and now you must make the thing that has been burning within you, calling you, beckoning you in stolen moments.
You have to choose to believe it is important, and start to put structure in place to make sure your work happens.
The practical part of this comes later. First this is about realising you have a responsibility to the creative idea. It is about believing that what you have something unique to offer the world and you want to do or make matters.
Then all you have to do is follow the breadcrumbs your curiosity is leaving for you.
It doesn’t have to be a Grand Plan, or involve any financial investment. Here are some small, easy ways I have started increasing the room in my mind for creativity, maybe they might work for you too:
Remember daydreaming? How, before the responsibilities crept up you would allow your subconscious to wander? Re-learn. Snatch a few minutes wherever you can. I find this easiest when my body is busy but my mind isn’t, when I’m washing up, out for a walk or driving my car.
Read about other people who have attempted this kind of thing before. Feed your creativity by listening to stories of those that have gone before you. Watch films, listen to music and podcasts. Prioritise being inspired.
Write it down:
Keep a notebook of ideas, or log them on your phone. Snip things out of newspapers and magazines. Create a record of your thought process. Call it something audacious like : The compendium of my dreams, or Staggeringly brilliant ideas for fun (because it should be).
(I never used to be disciplined about writing things down, but over the last few years I have realised my memory isn’t as good as I’d like to think it is and the paragraph I have been composing my mind will be lost if I don’t transcribe it.)
Don’t try and create in a vacuum. Talk to others about what you would love to do. Be willing to learn in all situations and from all types of people. Draw all the wisdom and knowledge you can from anyone who will help.
As you feed your creativity it will start to occupy more space in your head. The chores and responsibilities will have to make room, they will have to share you, for you were made for more than that.
Of course there will still be hurdles to actually getting on with the work, physical space and time allocation to start with, but you won’t ever get to this part if you don’t begin by creating some room in your mind.
As you allow these ideas to be part of who you are, you will begin to identify yourself as a creative person and you will start making decisions to enable the work.
And then the fun can really start.