Investing in your own creative self can be hard to focus on, especially if you're also running your own business, wrangling kids, working full time, or just getting through life in general. Doing anything that fosters your own creative life can feel like a luxury that you just can't afford, but there are some simple little things that can help infuse that creativity into your life and help grow that aspect of yourself. A lot of us spend too much time looking at other creative people and thinking about how green the grass of their creative lives looks, wishing ours was as lush, while we neglect watering our own creative grass. It can feel daunting to even start watering when we look at the crunchy, ugly, brown grass we're sporting, so here are three easy, simple ways to begin caring for your creativity.
1. Journal every day
This one can be hard to stick to, but I find that it's much easier if I get into a routine with it. I find that I like to end my day with a journal sesh, so I can decompress and hash through everything that happened that day, but I also know that starting your day with writing a few pages in your journal can be great too. Having a blank slate mentally, without all the crap from your day cluttering your mind, can be really good for getting into your true thoughts. I used to be a crazy good at journaling in high school and college, I have notebooks full of entries for years, but once I started blogging I pretty much stopped altogether. I've been trying to instill this habit again because, honestly, blogging publicly is no replacement for having a personal, private journal where you can be 110% uncensored and really just get it all out there. It's therapeutic and, even if you don't express yourself creatively through writing, journaling can really help a creative mind feel more fresh and inspired. Maybe it's the process of just getting all the stuff out that's clogging our brains creatively. Clearing the headspace and making room for creative thoughts to flourish.
If you have a hard time with figuring out what to write, or blank out when your pencil hits the page, having some prompts can really help get your brain flowing. Googling "journal prompts" is a great way to find, literally, thousands of prompts to give you direction, and you can even search for more specific directions like, "journal prompts on creativity." Sometimes it just takes a while for your brain to be able to open the floodgates, so you have to prime it a little bit and get the juices flowing.
2. Find your play
Creativity is inherently playful. When you think about kids, they're SO creative, and SO good at playing. They don't care about what something is supposed to look like or supposed to be. There is no right or wrong way to play. As adults we've un-learned this and become really good at feeling like we're doing things wrong. A lot of us have to re-train our brains to be able to even accept playing, especially playing with no goal or purpose, as something acceptable to do. I am incredibly guilty of this. I feel like everything I do has to have a goal or serve a purpose and if it doesn't, then I'm wasting time that should be spent working one something. It's hard to convince my brain to release that and to just do something purely for play. But play and creativity are intertwined and squelching one can only squelch the other, so investing in things that are purely play for you will infuse your creative self with new life
3. Commit to actually making
With stuff like pinterest and instagram and infinite scrolling, it's easy to do a lot of "becoming inspired" and consuming of inspiring ideas... but never actually doing anything. We want to do stuff because we're so damn inspired all the time, but it's easier to scroll through pinterest one more time than actually get off our butts and actually make. Being inspired can certainly be great for creativity, but when the ratio of getting inspired time versus actually making stuff tilts so heavily in the direction of getting inspired, you don't actually do anything with all that inspiration. I fall into this trap all the time, because being inspired kind of feels like making. But nothing can take the place of actually making stuff when it comes to cultivating your creativity. And while getting inspired by others' work can be nice, there's nothing that can replace making your own work for growing as an artist and honing your own personal style, regardless of what kind of medium you prefer working in!