Five Things I Need to Sustain my Creativity
Updated: Feb 12
Being creative can come in many forms. One of my MBA classmates thought she wasn’t creative until we did an exercise in class one night and she realized her problem solving skills were creative.
Nevertheless, in my case I am referring to art – writing, painting, film etc.
For the last several years I have been immersed in and caught up with pursuing my MBA. I realized, shortly after I started school again, the process had a distinctly male organization to it – doing, faster, pushing, more.
In debriefing from this process after graduation, I signed up for Jeff Brown’s Writing Your Way Home course, read Tami Lynn Kent’s Wild Feminine and rested – a lot. Took me about a month just to feel like job searching was a priority.
Jeff Brown’s course led me to explore my soul’s purpose. I knew I had to address certain key relationships in my life. My soulful process needed to re-exert itself. Dancing, acts of kindness and exploring my inner landscapes as well as my feelings became the priority.
I wrote about what gets in the way of my creative process in a previous blog. Here’s what I need to sustain creativity, a companion to that piece. Your factors may be different combinations or circumstances; however, you can do your own explorations and use this as an inspiration.
Five: A little bit of chaos
I definitely am not a chaos junkie. In fact, as a Virgo, I like to be pretty organized and I don’t have much time for people who aren’t in alignment. I need to feel like I can count on people in my life to be there when they say they will and to act consistently with me. I find that if my apartment is clean, I feel like I have the space to work. If my filing gets too far behind, I can’t focus.
Nevertheless, I am not a neat freak. Clothes sometimes end up on the floor. I leave dishes in the sink. I tend to make piles of papers until they get to be too much, then I organize them.
Being a little on edge and enjoying the moment – flying by the seat of my pants somedays – feeds my creative soul. Too organized and tidy and I feel like I am stuck in jail or a box. I am hardly ever exactly on time.
Four: Dancing, yoga and other forms of movement
I love music and especially dance music. Not only do I appreciate a good car Karaoke session but I attend DJ shows and music shows when I can, and my hips are always shaking. I really have a hard time not moving if music is involved. The music is vibrational and moves my body but also moves my soul.
Maybe I am exhausted and my feet hurt after a good night of dancing to my favorite DJ, but I have connected to space, to the stars, to the moon, to the wild side. The daily grind and all my problems have melted for a time. I feel expanded and alive.
Recently, I took up yoga again after several years off. I find the meditative and energetic movements, even the hard ones, get me focused and out of my head. I stop thinking and start letting things flow. Then I sit in the steam room or sauna and cleanse my body. By the time I am done with all that, I feel centered, aware, and in touch with my creative center.
Walking in nature is another great inspiration for me. I commune with the birds, butterflies, river, sea. I breathe deeply and allow the cares of the world to disappear. I find I am uplifted by the support of ‘all that is’ and connected to a deeper spiritual place. Often times, I either come up with ideas or feel open enough to write, after a long walk.
Three: People and No People
I thrive on people. I love being at bars, clubs and trips with others. I love meeting people near where I live at bars and laughing, talking and drinking together. Even my times out dancing, I am connecting to old friends, enjoying people watching and participating in the human experience of energetic movement.
Despite my empathic nature, I do not shy away from large gatherings. Art crawls, festivals and the Minnesota State Fair are all yearly favorites of mine. My soul is fed by crazy antics, observing others in their element, being silly, a glass of good wine or two and friends.
When I took up curling, the ice sport, in 2010, I immediately reveled in the bonspiel weekends even if I wasn’t curling. My soul is fed with the camaraderie, the laughter, the drinking games, the characters and the flirtations. I love the sport too – another form of movement.
Then there are the times when being alone is an absolute necessity. I’ll stay all day in my apartment or be alone at a coffee shop just immersed in my laptop and personal endeavors. I’d rather not see anyone I know. In fact, if I do run into someone I know, I get annoyed.
I’ll walk alone. Eat alone. Watch movies alone. Whatever it is, I’d rather it be just me, my inner child and my thoughts. I don’t want to be social or even try to maintain any masks. I don’t really care about your situation much. I may not answer your texts or calls.
Two: Money in the bank
I don’t know about you but I have a hard time being particularly creative if I am worried about how I will pay rent. Maybe I can get myself to write – I did a blog called Money Monster a few weeks ago when I was particularly challenged with finances. I don’t enjoy it much, though.
My energy is nervous, not centered. My writing may even be chaotic or the flow stops entirely when I am worried – about anything.
I like to eat good food and enjoy my environment. Restaurants, bars or festivals bring me access to friends, laughter, people watching, stories, connections. If I am that strapped I can’t even walk across the street for a beer, I feel disconnected and almost depressed. My energy is low and I get exhausted quickly.
I need to have a healthy and steady flow to feel most creative.
One: Finding the space
I need to be in a good space – literally and figuratively. There are many aspects to the space part of the equation – I’ll try to address them separately.
My home space needs to feel creative and provide me the aforementioned quiet, as I need it.
I had one apartment in my building in which I could hear my neighbor having loud sex and all hours of the day and night, sometimes interrupting my meditations. I moved out and my new apartment is relatively quiet; has brick walls which are artsy and a bathtub. I feel more centered in that space and I am surrounded with my art. I also have a nice view of the river. I find that calming.
I need my space from some people occasionally but there are also people with whom my energy is like oil and water. Sociopaths, chaotics, drug addicts – I rarely find them entertaining or creatively inspiring.
I am so sensitive to the multi-dimensional layers of people and their true intentions that just “having fun” and pretending I don’t sense the Truth, is hardly possible. It is different than being with friends dancing at a carefully vetted club – sure some of that may go on but I can shield myself.
If the chaos magicians are “in my life” or participating in an activity with or around me, I find the chaos and suffering that surrounds them, invariably gets wrapped into my creating and space. The results are most likely damaging and picking up the pieces afterwards, not worth the moment.
It is amazing how much stuff we crowd into a day. Work, networking, appointments, events. Mundane tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning…I can fill-up my day with all sorts of things. Then in the end, there is no time left to create.
I noticed when I was participating in Jeff’s workshop that my writing time went up but my apartment got kind of dirty. I also ran out of clothes. Finding space to write or be creative is a delicate balance.
I find that while other people enjoy drama, and work out their creativity by fighting, being in bad relationships, causing contention and the like – I am distracted by all that. I like peace. I have friends who surround themselves with jealous men or women, who participate in surface-y sexual relationships and ‘just want to have fun’ without thought to consequence.
I might find, by proxy of my connection to them, that I am drawn into it – usually by one of their friends who uses my mirror to play a jealousy thing, or create stories, throw their projections around. It is one of those times when my affinity for being around people has a dark side.
People are not often as sensitive or aware of multi-dimensional realities like I am. If I mention it and get mad, or create a boundary I could be accused of being a prude. But seriously, I will focus on cleaning up the energy and not on my creativity around those people. It is exhausting. I guess if I am a prude, or boring, so be it.
It is much more fun to be writing, and expressing and enjoying then it is to be in drama.