“Order and creativity are complementary.”—Lewis Mumford
Hello. My name is Zoe. I’m a creativity junky. If you’re like me, your creative musings and your compulsive desire to create threaten your sleep, your family and spiritual living, your house cleaning, and your other responsibilities.
Know that once a creativity junky, always a creativity junky. But try theses 6 tips that have helped me know when to free my imagination to fly and when to rein it in.
1. Treat your writing, painting, and presentation preparations like an outside-the-home job. Since I retired, I’m a full-time writer. On weekdays, I rise at 5 AM and start my day in Bible study and intercessory prayer, which prepares me for a good day. Around 9 AM after breakfast with my husband and some cleanup, I climb the steps to my office. I take care of non-creative tasks, then unleash my creativity to work on stories, blogs, and ministries. Ahhh.
My writing day formally ends at 6 PM. But remember, I’m a creativity junky, so I need more help than a defined time to create.
2. Carry with you something to write on at all times. Creative ideas pop into my head while I’m praying, eating, working around the house, and even while I’m dreaming. Of course, I want to pursue the idea NOW. I can often control that urge by writing the idea down on my notebook or iPad. In effect, it’s scheduled, and I can relax.
I’d recommend having only a desktop computer so it isn’t convenient to whip out your MacBook Air and pursue a fascinating idea. But that’s too extreme. After all, some of the impulsive behavior is the nature of an artistic, right?
3. Avoid activities at bedtime that tempt your creativity. I’m learning it’s dangerous to work on a scene or blog sitting in bed. When the lights go out, I know I’ll rework the content in my mind for hours. So to protect my sleep and keep the ideas from streaming, I read a little of a book that’s interesting but not a page-turner. Or I play a boring solitaire game on my iPad.
4. Plan moments throughout your day to re-ground you in non-creative living. For me, God is my guide, my counselor, and my Lord. Sometimes, I get wrapped up in my creative work and forget that. So I schedule another few moments with the Lord in a devotional after lunch.
Ahead of time, I plan home tasks, preferably with exercise, to be accomplished when I take breaks.
5. Train a habit of keeping certain days for spending time with family and doing things other than creative work. This tip is the most difficult for me. First, it’s hard to shut down the creative frenzy for long periods. And second, when life responsibilities take away an afternoon or day from my creative workweek, I need to make up the time. However, I’m working on the habit of taking off Wednesday afternoons and weekends. BUT, if my husband watches sports on TV, out comes my MacBook Air.
6. Do creative activities with others. My husband and I have worked together to design a house, create a garden pond, and plan creative activities for Sunday school children. My creative nature loves and feeds on such times with my husband. And, I enjoy playing make-believe with my grandchildren.
What has worked for you to prevent your creative work from taking over your life?
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I’d like to say commitment prevents creativity from taking over my life, but alas creativity creeps into my commitments. My crit partner is writing a Foyle’s War type of novel and a skeleton was exposed after a bomb hit a house. I spent hours on that critique, but i couldn’t help but paste a photo of a skeleton made out of brightly colored vegetables with my comments. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard from her. I’d post the skeleton here if I knew how.
Skeleton in vegetables, Marcia. Hmmm. I’ll do a search on that.