Creativity Kick-Start: Joy, a Creative Budget Essential



Joy is not just for grandma’s and monks. It’s an essential part of any creative budget, and a critical key to connecting to your creative sense of self. I want to focus on joy as the next core piece in my series on crafting a creative budget because it’s why you create. It’s the plug to your juicer, the charger to your cell phone.


When you know how to connect with what really brings you happiness, everything else is clearer, the view more crisp. The more you practice choosing joy, the better you get at creating it in little pockets of time throughout the day. This is especially true when dealing with interests that seem to be competing with each other. The one that brings you joy also brings you peace and a sense of fulfillment no completed to-do list can match.


On the other hand, mimicking what you think will bring you happiness because other’s are doing it and seem to be happy, well, that doesn’t serve you, your heart or your innermost desires. Nor does working towards something for appearances, parents, status or the call of big money. In fact, it leads you to chase joy.


Own the Story or Kill the Story

While you may have heard this same broken record playing elsewhere, the point I want to hit home is not about “shouldn’ts”. I want to focus on the misleading drive behind what people often think will bring them happiness. Is it the big picture success? Constant craving to get to the next thing that will make you happy? Or is it the little every day wins, the things that inspire a smile to creep across your face for no reason other than just because?


I’ll share a little personal joy from a few weeks back. You may have caught it – it’s called Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos. I love animals and anything miniature. This viral video made my day, lifted by heart and is now bookmarked for future viewings when I need a little boost. Why? Because animals make me happy as much as creative ideas executed brilliantly do, and it reminds me just how inspired I get from other people’s creativity. It pumps up my creative budget.


Your personal path to creative fulfillment is meant to ebb and flow and can’t be rushed. Yet, there is a way to sift through the fluff and get to what really sparks your “joy circuit”. Host a life experience review.



A Self-Review of Life’s Experiences Brings Joy into Clearer View

While this can seem like quite a big task to bite into, a life experience review is not so much an evaluation of YOU as it is an evaluation how you see your life’s experiences to date.


Start by sitting down, getting quiet. Then make a list of memorable life experiences and rate them by a star system according to how happy they made you. This idea is similar to a new show I caught on Comedy Central called “Review”, where the host rates personal experiences rather than books, movies or food. While it is a comedy and seriously exaggerated, I think there’s a solid kernel of truth to the value of looking at what you experience and if it’s bringing you closer to the real joy you desire from your creative expression.


For example, I took a solo trip to Portland, Oregon last year and that was a big five star experience for me. The adventure, the food, change of scenery, learning all about a new city, meeting new people and more made it a memorable time that changed me as a person. Other travel experiences, well, they barely make a blip on the radar because they were sort of blah. See what I mean?


Is the Story Starting or Stalled? 

Owning the creative story of who you are starts with honoring what you dig. It’s what fires up your heart and brings joy flooding through your veins. If you can find ways to add more connecting points to the high star experiences, then you are closer to building a healthy creative budget that’s hardwired into your core truth, not someone else’s. And that’s a big creative budget bonus.


Burn time searching for a shortcut, or take the time you would spend chasing accomplishments and things you think are owed to you to tune into what you love doing – even if you don’t think one other person in the whole world will care.


The simple act of deciding to focus on what know you really love will feed your soul and lead to the endurance you need to manage the rest of life’s details. Soon the tabloid story fades out of view while you bump up your creative budget with joy.


Please note: This post is second in a series about a creative budget. Come back next week when I focus on the importance of a creative space and how it can boost or drain your creative budget.


Photo credit: sid-itego – Jump for Joy