Focusing solely on creative output leads to burnout. You will run out of ideas as your flow becomes stagnant. Your inner gremlins will gain a foothold, and it will be difficult to push them back. Worse, you will forget who you are and instead run on who you used to be, and then wonder why it all seems so repetitive and uninspiring.
If this is you, it’s time to focus instead on feeding, nurturing and rediscovering your creative soul. You can think about this in terms of diet. What are you feeding your creative self? Do you even know what inspires and nurtures that part of yourself? Sometimes it’s a throwback or a constant and other times, it’ll be something brand new and surprising.
I’m guessing your creative self would love some surprises right about now, or at the very least some routine maintenance to bring that spark back and get the deep waters flowing again.
So here are some questions to ask yourself, if you’re feeling uninspired.
What daily diet are you feeding your creative self? Think colors, shapes, sounds, textures, ideas, moods, environments. What’s your ideal mix? Is there one place in your home where your creative self can have a lot of what keeps it humming? If not, how could you create that for yourself? If rearranging your house is too overwhelming, how about creating a scrapbook of the right stuff that you can sit and enjoy on a regular basis?
What are your creative self’s comfort foods? In other words, what helps it feel calm, centered, safe and receptive? Think idly paging through a full color glossy coffee table book, letting cool damp sand fall through your fingers at the beach, listening to music lying in a hammock on a summer afternoon, hot chocolate by the fire wrapped in a quilt, Christmas carols, cartoons. Think sick kid home from school or after an intense day at school. Think p.j.’s.
What “new foods” are you feeding your creative self? Think vivid new experiences, adventures, inspirational input, and wild combinations. These can be anything, even things not directly related to creating. In fact, the more “real world” the better: A visit to a new neighborhood, a bike ride, taking in a cultural or art performance, meeting new people, eavesdropping on a conversation in another language, volunteering. Into this category also fall skill-building activities: Lessons, workshops, classes and lectures, even developing your own curriculum. How about combining two kinds of media, or experimenting with new materials, or even checking out the work of someone else who’s doing something really wild and edgy?
Last, it’s always good to look at what’s in your environment that might be draining you of creative juice: too much caregiving, not enough productive downtime (reading, listening to music, knitting, doing a puzzle, playing a cut-throat game of poker), ignoring your body’s needs for relaxation and movement, people who are wet blankets and bummers, monotony or chaos. These are the dietary items that need to be cut back or eliminated. You could think of them as food sensitivities or allergies.
Now, it may not be possible to feed yourself all of these things, but it’s good to keep a regular list of creatively enriching activities and experiences, and to get into the habit of actively nurturing your creative self. In a way this is a working-backwards that will lead to you naturally gravitating toward those situations and people who do inspire you and nourish your creative soul.
It’s just that, having gotten into a pattern of impoverishment and deprivation, you must consciously take steps to remedy it until you get to know what it feels like to be nourished, supported, grounded and centered in your creativity. From the vantage point of someone who is creatively nourished, it will be harder to tolerate that state of hunger, when it comes again, without doing something about it.
The goal is to prioritize your creativity so that it is leading you into new and enriching life experiences, as it gains strength and develops into something you can access at anytime.
Can you imagine what that would look like?
To learn more about how to Reclaim Your Creative Soul, fill out this handy form, and I’ll get right back to you:
Until next time, lots of love to you,
© 2017 Phyllis Capanna. All Rights Reserved.