When I teach writing classes, people often ask me for tips on how to be more disciplined and productive. My response to them is always the opposite. I don’t believe that creativity can be forced. Rather, it needs to be “fed.” When you take care of yourself, treating yourself to whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy, your creative voice will start speaking. Then you just need to get out of its way.
I think the focus on producing creative work in a disciplined way is a result of the way we were trained to do things in school. In school, the “stick” is used to produce written work. Sometimes we’re even happy with that work, but I wouldn’t call most of it “creative” because creativity comes from the heart and the heart needs to be fed. In adult life, the opposite approach is needed in order to be productive: We need to treat ourselves to our favorite things (my garden, hip cafes, and fun clothing/gift shops are some of my favorite things) and then, giving ourselves some space and time and inner nourishment, we can listen for what wants to be said through us. Our heads aren’t figuring it out. Our hearts are.
We create structure for our writing by making time for ourselves to wander, take in the world, and let the inner voice speak. It’s not “work.” It’s more like play. Nurture yourself at a deep level, and then see what wants to blossom. Haven’t you noticed that when you do that, new insights and ideas come through on their own? We all just need to spend a little time every day soaking in beauty.
A couple friends of mine, Suzanne and Sam, have a beautiful book coming out on personal finances titled Wealth and Well-Being. In the book they discuss a concept called the “worth circle”:
Self Care —> (leads to) Self-Worth —> (leads to) Net Worth.
In other words, rather than focusing on increasing your net worth, focus on increasing your self-care, and the money will follow. The same can be said for creativity:
Self Care —> A Happy Spirit —> Abundant Creative Work
Now go nurture yourself.