Last Fall I hit a creative wall that I’ve been attempting to push past (climb over?) the last eight months. Life with a toddler is no joke, the amount of patience, time and emotional energy it takes me to be present as a mother is humbling, challenging and sometimes overwhelming. My recent reality of traveling, working full time, and moving into and fixing up our new house has made carving out time and mental space to generate creative ideas nearly impossible. Is guilt (and wine) the only way to come to terms with the privilege of being both so blessed and so tired?
Hasn’t it been interesting to watch the once woo-woo philosophy of Wellness become such a cultural touchstone? The self-care lifestyle, meditation, juicing, jade rolling, aromatherapy and so on, proclaims to be the cure for our hustle culture. Needing a cure myself, Wellness has inspired me to come up with some (belated!) creative resolutions for 2018, and bring my focus to creative maintenance instead of artistic output.
Wake Up Early And Do Nothing
My 2017 morning routine would start with a bang, and I found myself running through the steps of my day at a frantic pace until collapsing, totally drained, on the couch in the late evening. My new routine (and the snooze sometimes wins) is to wake up an hour early to do… whatever I want! The goal is to start the day with peacefulness to temper the crazy that begins at 6:30. Sometimes I sit on the couch and have my pre-coffee coffee and stare into space, other times I get ready at a leisurely pace all. by. my. self. Last week I picked up the house while listening to a podcast, which isn’t “nothing,” but since it wasn’t on anyone else’s schedule or harried before friends drop in for dinner, it felt productive and delicious. Could I use this time to sketch or write? Maybe, once I catch up on all my do-nothing time.
Just planning a trip feeds my spirit on even the most drag myself out of bed Monday. The change of weather, scenery and the excuse to break the routine and try new places is a self-fulfilling remedy for jumping out of a rut. What is it about being away from your home turf that makes one notice an inspiring texture here or hidden mural there? Being miles away from my to-do list opens up new ideas and allows me to look at old problems with a new perspective. While researching Airbnb for our upcoming trip to Paris and Amsterdam, I’ve been so inspired about my own home decor plans, dreaming of adding a touch of light/bright pied-à-terre to our into our toy-strewn Mid-Century.
Seek Out New Opportunities
While I don’t have time to take up a new hobby, if an opportunity presents itself I’ve been pushing myself to say “yes” instead of “couch.” Two years ago it was the chance to do live fashion drawing at a Dior event in Dallas, this year it was writing a series of fun, pop-y native advertising pieces. Nothing spices up my design day job like a brief affair with another creative outlet.
A Little is Better Than Nothing
I’ve been making time for quick, deadline-free, client-free projects, usually during my lunch break. A quick sketch or collage keeps my mind at least leaning toward inspired even as I mourn the epic abstracts, fanciful fashion illustrations, and endless artistic output on my Instagram feed. If for everything there is a season, I think this is my season of maintaining and protecting my creative spirit, holding out faith there will be a productive time to stoke it again.
Do you make creative resolutions? How do you maintain your creativity in these fast-paced, “do more with less” times?