Finding Your Creative Space
One of the most important aspects to helping yourself find a creative space is forming a routine that will get your brain in gear. If you don't like to be confined by the word 'routine', then think of it more like making a consistent environment in order to channel creative energy.
The first part of this is being consistent. That means, making Being Creative a part of your everyday. What does that period of time look like to you? Editing? Blogging? Writing a book? Filming? Cooking? Crafting? Decorating? Drawing? Woodworking? Whatever it is, if you want to help wire your brain to optimize your creativity, you gotta be routine about it. So, like a habit, or any project you want to pursue and get better at, making it consistent in your life is essential.
Sidebar to say: this doesn't work for everyone. I have writer friends who CANT write everyday because they get burned out. They write a couple times a week, and when they do, they end up spending hours and hours working. However, I'm sharing what has worked for me, and you can take and leave what you want.
In the same vein as consistency, you also want to pick a time of day that works best for you. It was suggested to me once to map out a couple of my days, writing down times when I felt a lot of energy and was able to get a lot of work done, versus times when I was sluggish.
If you map it out for 3-5 days, you'll start to see a pattern. Maybe you're vibrant in the mornings, able to get lots done, feel this is when you'd make the best creative moves, but get sluggish in the afternoon. Maybe you sleep in late, do best if you do your email answering, manual labor tasks through the middle and evening and then once night hits your time to shine comes out! Maybe you're a stay at home mom or dad and HAVE to choose to either get up early before everyone or stay up late after every one. If making that time for yourself is important (and I believe it is), then you'll want to make that extra effort if you can. Figure out what works best for you! Pick an hour or three and block that off as your daily creative space.
Lastly, as a part of your routine, you want to pick a place and form an atmosphere. The place could be your home, a coffee shop, the library, somewhere in nature, or any number of places where you are able to create. From there, how can you create a consistent atmosphere for yourself in order to train your brain that it's time to create?
When I'm writing a book, I go to the same coffee shop every day, sit in the same general area so that the lighting is similar, and I order the same drink. My coffee sits on the right side of my computer, I wear headphones and listen to my writing playlist (you can follow me on Spotify), and I block out usually three hours to work. All of this combined, helps my brain to know that at that time everyday, in those circumstances, I expect it to make magic.
Here's what happens if I switch it up: I go to the library one day, where I can't have my coffee, just a water, and I find a table to sit at, but the light from the windows is far away and all that's available is fluorescent lighting. There's no hum of conversation so my brain is already on alert for something else. I'm surrounded by books instead of space. It takes me twice as long to get into my grove and once I do, I've forced my brain into the creative space instead of going where it is already naturally trained.
Now, if I began consistently going to the library at that time, I could retrain my brain to find my creativity there, but it would take a few days at least.
Some of you will argue that you actually get inspired by going to new places, having different drinks, etc etc etc. Looking for inspiration and consistent creativity are different. If you're starting a new project, go somewhere new, that's great! BUT if you're trying to get a creative space each day to work on the same project or same type of project, make a routine for yourself.
That works in the wedding industry too. For wedding photographers who are trying to blog, or trying to find creativity in editing--make that routine for yourself. Edit at the same time everyday, for the same amount of time, with the same drink on your desk or couch or bed or wherever you find yourself most productive.
Next week, we'll talk about Forming a Creative Space by getting rid of distractions.