It's been a while. And then I started this post and let it go for several days. This is telling me I need to revamp how I keep in touch--clearly I don't have the right system set up.
Since the beginning of June, life has been a lot. My beloved cat dying suddenly from cancer. My job ending. Traveling to see family for the first time since my mom died five years ago. My partner leaving his job of 15 years for a new opportunity. Adopting a new cat so very soon after my darling died because our other boy was sad without a friend and having the new kitty girl go into heat almost immediately right when my partner was leaving for two weeks for the new job. Yeah, it's been like that.
Through it all I did keep to some creative practice. I was doing The100DayProject, and I stuck to it through all the chaos. Friends and others have commented that this is impressive and some have wondered how I managed to stick with it. I did a little post about this on my Facebook page the other day, but I thought I'd write a little more and put this somewhere easy to find for people who need it at some point.
What I did to keep in touch with my creativity:
- I made sure my projects could be varied so that I could work for just a few minutes or half an hour or more depending on how my day was going. And every day I told myself I would just do a few minutes (and most days it turned into a longer time and was always rewarding)
- I put my supplies right where I could see them every day and could just sit down and use them when I was ready to work
- I used social media as my accountability partner and reported what I did every day
- I told my partner and my closest friend when I was having an "I don't feel like doing anything" day; saying it out loud always helps me get myself off the couch
- I gave myself permission up front to do "ugly" work or "plain" work like just some paint and washi tape on a page where I did practice brush lettering
So, what to do if you are struggling to get to your creative work?
- Find the smallest steps you can do. Make a list of them so when you're really busy/tired/resistant/whatever you don't have to try to think of what to do.
- Do the smallest step. Don't try to make yourself do more. If you do something for three minutes and you really don't want to do more, that's fine. It still counts.
- Find a way to keep yourself accountable, a way to report your successes. Hashtags are pretty good for this.
- Try for some variety in your creative practice so you don't get bored or feel stuck.
- Let yourself do practice work, ugly work, plain work. Don't aim for finish products or your best pieces every single day.
I hope this helps if you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Keeping up with our creative work when life is particularly hard is important. It helps clear the mind and fill the soul, and it gives us a win in days that might not have many. So don't let go of your creativity when things are bumpy, just find a way to make it easier. Your future self with thank you for it.