Five Pillars of Creativity

Creativity is not something that comes easily, as many artists and creatives will tell you.  It is rare that a creator, be it a painter, a writer or anything else is just constantly bubbling with ideas that can actually be transformed into something physical.  I came up against the dreaded writer’s block a lot including a full year where I just felt like I didn’t have any stories to tell.  I felt like a failure, even though I knew that I wasn’t and that this was totally normal. 

All the same, I have found that I do have five very very important things that are the foundation of my creativity.  In identifying these, when I did come up against that loathsome block, at least I knew some things that I could check myself on and things that might help get ideas flowing again…even if it’s not always right away. 

Of course, these might be different for different people but I have found that when I talk to friends, many of which are far more creative then I am, they are often neglecting one of these five simple life rules.

1.       Not being exhausted:  Of course, you should get enough sleep and I always do.  I go to bed around nine or ten at night, take a CBD gummy and am up by five thirty on weekdays and latest eight in the morning on the weekends.  I make sure that I get enough sleep and am well hydrated (My humidifier is life) but this also means that I am not drained mentally or physically too.  I actually am so much more active now that I have an office job just because I don’t spend my entire day on my feet.  I have the energy to have hobbies after work, to try new recipes without feeling like cooking is my job, to run or work out and to have the mental energy to do what I want to do creatively.  None of this was really possible when I was working in restaurants.  Make sure to set yourself up so that you have the energy to be creative.

2.       Variety:  I have learned as I got older not to identify as one thing.  I do not just call myself an artist, a writer, a runner or a potter.  I am all of those things along with an accountant!  Boxing ourselves into an identity might make us feel more secure in the moment but in the end, it is very limiting.  When I am all of these things and doing a variety of these things, I actually find that I do them better.  The variety gives my mind a break from one of the other so that when I came back to something else, that part of my brain is fresh and ready to go, while giving the other side a break.  We are all many, many things and there is a reason for that.  We are spiritual, emotional, intellectual, creative and physical beings and to be truly healthy, we need to engage all of them.

3.       Lack of expectation:  A lot of professional creative go in with a goal and some months and projects I do as well.  But for the most part, I go into projects, especially new projects and new mediums, I go in preparing to be bad at it, having no expectations of myself.  I do it just to enjoy it and learn from people that are better than I am.  My only expectation is to laugh at myself.  I love this.  More than anything actually:  the act of being just horrifically bad at something.  We can’t go in expecting to be good at a new creative endeavor, even if we are the most creative people in the world.  That’s like a runner just expecting to be good at basketball because they are already sporty.  This lack of expectation in myself when I begin…or even when I am just trying out a new draft, new glaze or new kind of clay is freeing and lets my mind wander and try things without the weight of expectation or embarrassment. 

4.       A sense of community:  when I become involved in something, I become involved.  Obsessed almost.  I want to immerse myself fully into whatever I’m doing.  I am this way with hobbies, sport and intellectual pursuits.  The only thing that makes me happier then drowning myself in something is doing it with other people.  This is a bit strange because honestly, I don’t like other people.  I am pretty solitary by nature and my social anxiety and awkwardness is not cute.  It can be annoying.  I talk too much, and I sometimes get too loud.  However, when I love something and find a group that loves it just as much as me and becomes just as excited, there is nothing better.  It can be a running group; it can be a bunch of people that enrolled in a class at the same time.  Either way finding that community of people who love the same things that you do and are just as passionate is something that can really just amp up your creativity to an entirely new level.  These are the kinds of people that you learn from and that can really bring out the best in you creatively and socially.

5.       Being healthy- I reject the premise of artists being drunk, sick and never getting enough sunlight.  I reject the glorification of insomnia- and yes while mostly people seem to know insomnia is bad for you they do ware it like a badge of honor.  For me, I am most creative when I am well rested (See number one), eat well and for the most part stay sober- though a glass of wine never hurt me on a warm midsummer evening while I write or throw outside hasn’t hurt me yet.  Being healthy gives me the energy to write and I find when I am in good health, ideas, forms and other things just come easier to me.  I get writers block less and can actually make my ideas a physical representation instead of a mental jumble.

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