Imagine if the creative process felt natural and flowing. Each time you sat down (or stood) to do your work, you were excited to take big risks, continually tapped into new or innovative ideas, and felt the stamina to continue producing with excitement.
Creating doesn’t always feel like that, though. Most times, it doesn’t feel that way at all. When creating feels like a chore, we feel stagnant, it drains our energy and we can’t do our best work.
Creative underwhelm usually happens because we don’t have a method in place to make it routine. When creativity is not a habit, it takes extra effort to get into a state of flow. Just like it takes work to perfect your craft, it also takes work to build a creative routine that allows you to consistently see your best results.
Building a habit of creativity is a valued practice in the artistic world. Julie Cameron suggests starting the habit with a daily writing ritual. Wired to Create explores the science behind and the importance of building a creative habit. And, as Twila Tharp writes in The Creative Habit, “the routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.”
Want to operate at the peak of your creative ability? Establish a creative routine!
When building your creative routine, ask yourself: What inspires me? What grounds me? What excites me? What kind of environment gives me the most creative energy?
Start slowly and completely commit. Your goal should be to develop a routine at least 20 minutes long; this will give you sufficient time to have a diverse and thorough routine. If you find it challenging to commit to that amount of time, begin with 5 minutes and gradually increase it from there.
Six Elements to Upgrade Your Creative Routine:
Grounding: Slow it Down
Gain clarity and slow down the hamster wheel of thoughts. Tap into the peace that allows you to push past fear and tension. This step could include meditation, breathing, sitting in silence, spending time outside or in nature, or anything else that grounds and connects you. Clear your mind.
Empowerment: Pump Yourself Up
Allow yourself to get excited about what you bring into the world. This step could include visualization, positive affirmations, a pep talk in the mirror, listening to your favorite pick-me-up music, or anything else that gets you feeling good about your creative self.
Exploration: Ignite your Curiosity
What inspires you? What are you curious about in your creative endeavors? This step could include viewing other creatives’ work that inspires you, making a list of imaginative questions about life/art/beauty/love/family/etc., noticing how many different shades of blue you can see, or anything else that helps you indulge your wonder or shift your perspective.
Expansion: Challenge Yourself to Grow
Challenge yourself to take new risks, try new things, and practice new skills. This step could include writing poetry in a new format, asking for a creative role in an upcoming project, trying a completely new design style, or anything else that feels bold and pushes you past your comfort zone.
Reflection: Look inside
This is time to go a little deeper and allow for some self-discovery. This step could be thinking about your morals, goals, ethics, etc., journaling on how to turn challenges into opportunities, how you can use compassion and empathy around a triggering situation, or your passions and driving purpose, or anything else that allows you to spend some time alone in self-exploration.
Play: Indulge your Imagination
Have fun! Drop your guard, be free, and create. This step could include tapping into your imagination and daydreaming, creating something silly or out of the ordinary, playing games, doodling, writing a funny poem, or anything else that takes the pressure off of creating and allows you to have fun!
Just because it’s a routine doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day. Discover what works for you, add in new elements, try new things, and change it up day by day! The important part is that you’re carving out time to do this work, challenging yourself with a variety of components, and making (and sticking to) a plan!
By establishing and following a creative routine, you create a system where your creativity can be regularly stimulated and nourished. Fear is no longer a stopping block because you face it daily. Curiosity guides your artistic endeavors and keeps your energy high. You allow yourself to push beyond your natural talents and attract innovative thinking into your daily life. You form a habit of creativity.
Example Creative Routine 30 minutes:
Empowerment: 2 minutes of creative affirmations
Play: 5 minutes of playing with the cat
Grounding: 3 minutes of slow, belly breathing
Reflection: 5 minutes of journaling on the topic of “passion”
Exploration: 5 minutes of looking at other’s work (art, writing, jewelry) and writing down likes/dislikes/inspirations
Expansion: 10 minutes of working in new photoshop software or trying a new technique
Example Creative Routine 20 minutes:
Empowerment: Start your routine by listening to music that makes you happy
Reflection and Grounding: 5 minutes of gratitude journaling
Our creative routines won’t be perfected overnight. It will take trial and error to find the groove that works best for your lifestyle and business. Nonetheless, committing to these routines is a necessary step in maintaining our creativity. Get inspired to bring your creativity to life by taking a look at Design Pickle’s work.
Written by Cassandra Green
Cassandra Green is a life coach, with a background in theatre and film. She helps clients accomplish big goals while increasing their daily happiness and satisfaction. Cassandra is also the founder of the coaching subscription box CoachCrate, featured on Forbes, OprahMag.com, and BuzzFeed. Learn more about Cassandra’s work and CoachCrate at www.coachcrate.com or follow her on Instagram.