After the upheaval this summer, I’ve found it a challenge to restart all the projects I planned. While creativity is often poetically portrayed as delivered on a silver platter by a winged muse, in reality it requires regular focus and hard work (and often re-work) in order to produce results.
Since mid-June, my creative practice has existed only in short bursts and I have not made the progress I had hoped by this point in the year. I have a good reason, I’m not sure I want to call it an excuse, but it is what it is. I could allow myself to wallow in despair, allow the imposter syndrome to take over, or I could get back to work.
As my schedule began to settle, I rolled up my sleeves and began to set appointments with myself for creative pursuits. I’m not fully back up to speed, but I’m getting there.
Penny’s 3 steps for productive creativity
- Set regular time for creativity. I really like working with time blocks. It helps me to focus deeper on the work I need to do and remove distractions.
- Follow creative prompts. Often it’s easier to be more creative when facing constraints. There are many sources of prompts available, in this I think social media is a benefit. I like that they have a side benefit of forcing you to regularly participate in your chosen creative act and provides an accountability.
- Take notes. I cannot over stress the importance of keeping a notebook.
Does that sound easy? In general, it is!
What do I have planned? I have a simple fingering weight shawl in Washtenaw Wool Co with the tech editor. I hope to send two Anzula projects very soon, a hat and the long delayed crochet baby sweater. I’m also looking at the many yards of my handspun and working on photographing and pricing them so that they can be worked into projects instead of languishing in the corner of my studio.
Lest you think I schedule every moment, there is a tension between creativity and productivity, and finding that balance is the key to productive creativity. (Many thanks to Jillian Moreno for that link!)