I wrote last night. I felt tired and listless, but I sat in front of the computer (only for half an hour) and I wrote. I’m writing a novel, and the main character struggles with the death of his niece. I struggled to write the scene at the funeral home, because it felt close to my own experience, but writing was cathartic.
I wrote last week about fatigue, and I felt fatigued yesterday. More than anything, fatigue makes me look inward at myself, instead of outward at the work. And, rather than an introspective journey of awareness, fatigue encourages my own self-pity and ennui.
So, I wrote. Creativity pulls me out of myself. Or, it makes me look within myself in a way that brings health, because my feelings see light as they fall onto the page. I had to force myself to write.
Creativity — such a spontaneous exercise — craves routine. I need routine to prepare my mind for creativity (generally, I make tea). I need discipline to sit down, to create space for creativity, space away from television and internet (even though I’m on my computer), to sit still with my own thoughts and see which ones fall from my hand and onto the page for others to see.
All creators need this discipline. We develop routine because we are human; we need habit to find the safety to create:
I find such charts interesting, but also helpful. Such charts show the tedious routines that each writer — or creator — has developed. Routines that they need to create, to step outside themselves. I especially love Hugo’s technique, to trap himself naked in his room, to literally force himself to write. I find encouragement in this, during days when I am tired and don’t want to create: this ground has been trod before. Find routine, move, create.
I’ve found that creativity does not come like a lightning bolt, as you might see in the movies. Rather, creativity comes from lonely and tired nights or mornings, working away at a computer or canvas, developing ideas and refining ideas and playing with ideas. Only then, only when the ideas are so ingrained in us that we see them in our sleep, can a new one come while I walk down the street, like that lightning bolt.
So today, whatever your creative endeavor, whether it be writing or painting or gardening or planning a new business or mediating a conflict: turn everything off except your mind, and give yourself routine and space to create. Do this today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Do not let yourself off easily. Find that space and sit with it, and after enough of these days, you may actually enjoy what you have created. You may actually move out of yourself through your creativity, and see yourself — and the world — anew.
Thoughts? Any interesting routines out there, besides some tea (coffee if it’s morning) and a little music? Any particular stumps that stifle creativity?