Thursday, February 11, 2016

Refreshing the Creative Soul

I'm not so good at taking time off. Here's how I know: the question, "What do you do for fun?" is convicting.

Does drinking coffee count?

Um, no, I suppose not.

When I'm carried away with chasing down dreams, my answer is that I write and that it's okay that it's (basically) all I do because it's such varied work. I write a poem, a blog post, a chapter, an essay. To switch it up, I create graphics for my blog. 

Though I have yet to make money at it and though it is my dream and though I enjoy most of these tasks, writing is my job. Because I enjoy it, I can keep up this workaholic pace for quite a while. But then something will happen that throws me for a loop, either inside or outside of my writing life--sometimes both--and I'll find myself feeling lost, uninspired, and depressed.

No good.

So how does a creative overachiever recharge?

Find a way to incorporate art into spending time with God. He is, after all, the source of life, light, and inspiration. He's the ultimate Creator, and if we hope to also create things, we need to involve him in any attempt to recharge. This could be writing out a prayer, drawing something, or dancing to worship music, depending on your favorite forms of art. I've seen those coloring books with Bible verses included in among the flowers, but I don't have one of my own, so instead I wrote out a verse and tried to make it pretty.

Do something creative that doesn't help your to-do list. Knitting and crochet come in here for me. Unlike watching TV, yarn art provides me with time to think and leaves me with something to enjoy when I'm done.

Clean up your work area. Cleaning isn't the most restful thing I could do, but it does give my mind freedom to think while creating a space I can relax or work in with less stress later. I have a habit of sliding to-be-filed paperwork to the right side of my desk... and letting it accumulate for months. How much nicer my desk looks when I clean that up!

Talk to a friend. Maybe this applies to other artsy types or maybe it's an introvert thing or maybe it's just me (okay, I know it's not that...), but I tend to get quiet when I'm overwhelmed or sad. I'll write about my problems or process them in a blog post, but I shrink from mentioning them in person when I need support the most. I have to make an effort to reach out. Make sure you do, too.

This list is a just a start! What to you to to recharge and refresh when you're burning out?


7 comments:

  1. Well since drinking coffee doesn't count as refreshing the burnout... ;) I like to also clean up my work area, go for a walk (or jog), knit, cook, and just read read read. When I'm in a lull, I am quick to grab a book. God is the source of all life and all inspiration, I believe. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing tips to help other creatives. And way to own your calling, writer!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement! Reading and exercise are great additions to the list and I'm with you on God being the source of life and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Good advice and the jolt I needed today. I tend to lose myself in a new book, sometimes a craft book, and like you I grab the yarn and crochet hook or knitting needles. I also get on the treadmill and listen to a book.

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    1. For some reason, I don't think of listening to books often, but I have to walk my dogs most every day, and bet I could listen to quite a few over the course of a year. Thanks for the idea!

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  4. Good advice and the jolt I needed today. I tend to lose myself in a new book, sometimes a craft book, and like you I grab the yarn and crochet hook or knitting needles. I also get on the treadmill and listen to a book.

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  5. I know for some cleaning their workspace seems like work, but for me it's somewhat freeing to start fresh after I've done it. Crafting has always helped me as well as gardening. Listening to books is a great source of relaxation that I don't take advantage of that much. Appreciate all your suggestions and will try to apply more of them in my life.

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    1. Yes, when I finally get around to it, I do love the fresh start after cleaning. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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