You are a creative person. But you wish you could create more. Sometimes you can be overwhelmed by stress, anxiety or depression and your busy life leaves you little-to-no room to create.
If you’re a struggling creative, you can find balance, peace and fulfillment by carving out more space from your busy life to create.
You already find peace and fulfillment through creating. I can help you find more by building a method to focus yourself and regularly create more.
How Creating Helps With Depression
To me, art is anything you create. I’ve been an artist all my life, off and on as a creative hobbyist and a professional. Art is special to me. I’ve dealt with stress, anxiety and depression for over 15 years now as well. If you’re in a similar boat, I understand what the struggle can be like.
A huge key for me has always been to create. Getting what’s inside of me out and into words, paint, design, photography and video has always helped me find peace in the middle of the storm. Feeling fulfillment and calm during my internal craziness is a wonderful gift.
But with a busy career, commitments and a van-sized family always taking precedence in my life, finding time to create is difficult.
Carving Out Time to Create
Carving out time to create is essential to your personal growth and fulfillment as an artist and a person.
I’ve fought this battle for years, going through swings from high highs to low lows, never finding balance. I’ve gone through times of prolific creation and artistic desolation.
In spite of those swings, I’ve recently renewed a failed goal of mine. This goal has turned into a new habit and has helped me and given me balance like I’ve never experienced in my adult life.
It’s simple in concept, but challenging to execute. The rewards are well worth the effort.
3 Simple Steps to Building a Reliable, Repeatable Routine to Create Every Day
It all has to do with routine, sacrifice and simplification. It doesn’t take long to start and if you stick to it, it can change your life.
1. Building a Routine
First, I wake up at the same time every day to create.
This is the most important part.
I’ve tried to do this for YEARS, but this time, it finally worked for me. In the past, I didn’t give myself enough of a buffer.
I would try to build a new routine by waking up at 6am. The problem was sometimes the kids would wake up early and then all my effort at rising early to create would be wasted.
I now wake up at 5am…every day. Not just on week days, or when I feel like.
What time can you wake up to give yourself enough of a buffer to create without interruption?
2. You Have to Sacrifice What’s Not Important to Your Goals
I’m a natural night-owl. Staying up late has always given me energy and time to create.
I also love watching movies or reading late into the night. Being a parent, its easy to do this because it’s an effortless opportunity for time alone with my wife. It’s our chance to focus on spending time together. It’s also a great time to do something just for myself.
After a few days of staying up late though, I’d be exhausted all the time and everything would fall out of balance.
It was fulfilling, but not sustainable long-term. Even though I loved it, I had to let go to move forward.
Now, I go to bed by 10:30 at the latest. But most nights, I’m in bed between 9:30 and 10. I get up to 7.5 hours of sleep a night. I do just fine with 7 hours of sleep, but can’t last too long with less.
I also sacrifice sleeping in. I’ll be honest, I do miss it sometimes. But I’ve realized for me, sleeping in lets the day happen to me. Waking up early puts me in the drivers seat instead of reaction mode.
I give up sleeping in and waking in reaction mode. I gain focused time to create every day. There is no one else awake in the house and it is glorious. I write and write and write. The tradeoff is well worth it.
What do you need to sacrifice?
3. You Have to Simplify Your Life to Streamline Your Effort
I’m still in the process of simplification. I will always be as life is a continuous path of change.
I’m looking for anything blocking my progress: physical, mental or emotional. Anything stopping my flow or sucking my energy, I change or remove.
For example, I have a heater in my cold , half-basement office I start up the moment I wake up. I have a blanket for the interim cold.
I only have one two apps open on my computer. One is Chrome playing instrumental music. The other is Ulysses, full-screen for writing without distraction.
My phone is in DND mode.
My clothes are out and ready for the morning creative session.
There are no barriers for me to create.
I also try to remove clutter from my office so everything is as simple and unobtrusive as possible. This is pivotal for me to remove distractions and encourage production.
I’m in the process of taking this effort beyond my morning routine and into the rest of life as well. We go through bouts of minimalism, followed by bouts of consumerism. It’s a hard process with a big family.
What ways can you simplify your creative process?
How This Routine Has Changed My Life
Using these 3 steps to build a creative routine has changed my life in a major way. I’ve used one or another at different times throughout the last 14 years of my life, but never together until recently and the results have been astounding.
In the last 31 days, I’ve gotten up and starting creating by 5:10am.
Every. Single. Day.
I’ve written over 40,000 words in short stories, creative non-fiction, blog posts, notes and outlines.
But most important, I haven’t crashed or risen to manic levels of production like every other attempt through the years.
Instead, I’ve been steady. I’ve been productive and creative physically, emotionally and mentally.
I’m loving it.
I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it feels to get to this point. I’m a better creator, father, husband, employee and person.
I want to share it with you.