“You can’t control creativity. Doesn’t it just happen when it happens?”
We’ve heard this question a lot; and we’re here to set the record straight. No, creativity isn’t some mystical talent that has a mind of its own. It is a skill that needs to be recognized, nurtured and cultivated. We are all creative beings, it only requires a little dedicated action to hone that side of us and make creativity a part of our life. But how do you do that?
Well, to live a creative life, you have to actually BE creative!
What that means is, you have to take the time and make an effort to be creative first.
Renowned writers, painters and artists have all said that they followed a consistent creativity routine, daily, which is what helped them create their most incredible artworks. Award winning writer, Maya Angelou had a dedicated apartment where she would go to write from 9am - 5pm every day. Even the greats like Pablo Picasso stuck to a routine to bring out their creative expression. It may sound counter-productive to a creative lifestyle, having a routine; but that in fact is the secret behind it. In order to live a creative life, you must make time for creativity!
Now, how can those of us, who aren’t great artists and painters, find the time to be creative amidst our busy schedules? Here are some ideas:
1. Make the most of silent hours
The silent hours are those when the rest of the world is asleep, and there are no sounds or movements to disturb you. This could be in the wee hours of the day (if you’re an early bird), or long after the sun sets (if you’re a night owl). Find a time that works for you, when you’re feeling fresh and inspired, and are unlikely to be disturbed. Use this time to do some creative work.
2. Make it a daily habit
When it comes to any habit, discipline takes you a lot farther than motivation can. Finding the motivation to do creative work is quite unreliable - it comes and goes without a schedule. But if you build a discipline to do the work, you will show up more regularly and improve consistently. So remember, that’s the trick - develop a routine that you can stick to consistently, to make creativity a habit. Set an alarm on your phone, add it to your calendar, put on a daily reminder - and spend 30-60 minutes engaging in your favourite creative activity.
3. Guard your alone time
We tend to get caught up with all our responsibilities - at work, and at home. Then there’s also a social and family life we need to balance. Amidst such hectic routines, alone time often becomes rare and is the first to be sacrificed should new plans come up. If you’re trying to cultivate a habit or routine for creativity, this is one thing that needs to change. You need to become fiercely protective of your alone time. This is when you can think, introspect, explore, research and do, without any distractions. So, should anyone or anything else demand your attention at a time when you were planning to be alone, learn to say no and prioritise your creative work.
Remember, creativity is there within each and every one of us, simply waiting to be discovered and nurtured. Creativity is also essential if you want to live a full, well-rounded life and it also helps cultivate a sense of peace and gratitude. So, if you’ve been waiting for a sign to explore your creative calling, this is it. From today, make the time to be a little creative everyday and your future self will thank you for it!