Last Monday I had a super-long experiment and I left my lab at 10 pm. Which is my typical bedtime. Swamped and in pain, I dragged myself home. The next day I didn’t feel like doing my creative work.
Then I was going out a few times, couldn’t get enough sleep, and the creative practice just felt too demanding. So I skipped.
Recently I was in emotional pain and decided to skip my morning writing session. (Now I don’t even remember what caused me the pain. But I’m sure it felt bad at the moment.)
When I get overwhelmed, the easiest thing for me is to skip creating. I am my own boss, which means I can often can get away with excuses. “I was tired. Had too much on my plate this week anyways. I’m not inspired. Who cares?”
My creative work is something that brings me tons of joy and excitement, exploration and playfulness that I need so badly. However, when life gets messy, my passion vanishes. Creative work becomes just another item on already packed to-do list. Often skipped since it’s not urgent.
I imagine that you’ve experienced something similar. For most of us, creative gig is something that we do on the side. Something that we love, but something that gets postponed easily, when the life happens. Something we’re passionate about, but, as it usually happens, the passion fades after a while.
The solution doesn’t have to be to move to Bali or Paris to keep your zeal at the high level. As always, small shifts in our mindsets can take us far.
I recently read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and found an awesome hack.
Let me ask you a question.
WHY DON’T YOU HAVE AN AFFAIR?
“What? But I am a honest woman and I love my husband. And what does it have to do with creativity?” you might think.
What I mean is: Why don’t you have an affair with your creative work? How about that?
Let me explain.
We are all busy. However, among all the busy people, some still find a time for an affair. Regardless of full time jobs, kids and long lists of duties, they manage to find a way to sneak out and see their lover, even if it’s just for 5 minutes in the stairwell. They don’t mind missing a meal or a bus. They are willing to make sacrifices in order to be alone with their lover.
Why don’t you start a small affair with your creativity? Affair mood is miraculous: fired up, alive and full of energy. That’s what we miss in our everyday routines.
Gilbert writes: “Stop treating your creativity like it’s a tired, old, unhappy marriage (a grind, a drag) and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of passionate lover. Even if you have only 15 minutes a day in a stairwell alone with your creativity, take it. Go hide in that stairwell and make out with your art! (And you can get a lot of making out done in 15 minutes, as any furtive teenager can tell you.)”
How cool is that?
It doesn’t matter how much time you actually have, but how you use it. And what emotion are you bringing in. ((Tweet this!))
Alex Franzen wrote an epic post, named “Your life is a hot date. Show up.” She describes the energetic and focused mind state, that we have on hot dates, wondering if we can transfer it to other areas of life.
I had a few hot dates and stairwell meetings recently. At lunch breaks, during long lab tests, in the evenings, while I’m cooking. Many idea lists and a few Quora answers later, I have to tell you that this affair strategy really works. (And feels amazing.)
Wait no longer. Have an affair with your creativity. Dress up. Put a huge smile on your face. Create a sense of urgency. Feel the fire under your butt. Sneak out. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going. Make it out with your art.
In the comments below let me know how did your hot date go.
P. S. Cookie Of Wisdom: “Passion is genesis of a genius.” Galileo Galilee ((Tweet this!))