Finding Your Creative Stride

Photo by Divadsi1

Photo by Divadsi1

With all the hope of fresh new beginnings as the year kicks off, by the end of January it often feels like you’re in one of two camps:

Your creative mojo is perked up, ideas are trickling in and all is going with the flow, OR…

You are still scattered, disorganized or feeling a bit “off”, experiencing some stumbling blocks and feeling like you are running through a giant vat of pudding.

For most people, it’s usually a bit of creative inspiration blended with sticky spots, but that’s what  finding  your stride is all about — finding. Shaping and working with a flexible foundation that helps you connect with your own creative flow “on the regular” in a way that feels natural and flowy, not forced.

With the new year’s high now worn off, you start to see what plans, ideas and relationships still make sense and which ones need polish or tweaks. Ideas become more fine-tuned and you begin to see things taking shape in the physical world or fade out. But the brain also often steps into the mix and churns up the water, confusing your sense of clarity on where you stand at all, or how you may feel about your progress.

An end of January “pause” actually allows us to see one of the most important things we miss in the to-do list and marketing plans — all the ways we may not showing up for ourselves. While each person’s way of honoring themselves is a deeply personal approach, if you are feeling a bit “sticky” in your own creative flow and want a good 20,000 foot view, here are some things to consider: 

  • What is your daily or weekly routine for exercise, errands, meditation, alone time or personal/creative projects?
  • What are you putting into your body? Tons of caffeine? Regular balanced meals? Some healthy pro-biotics or yogurt? Any veggies or fruits making it down your gullet?
  • How about sleep habits — anything close to a regular bed time?
  • Stress management options — do you have any or is your motto always “Just Do It?”
  • How do you get “grounded” in the morning? Do you eat a healthy breakfast? Exercise? Do yoga or meditate? How about clearing your chakras on a regular basis (for you alternative healers out there…), especially at the start of the day?
  • Are you spending too much time in your head, or are you taking the time to actually DO something? Anything?
  • Who are the people in your life you would consider a helpful support system, vs. people who like to share joint griping? On the converse, are you talking to people who only want to look at the positive and never entertain a balanced view?

Subtle Shifts and Personal Awareness — For the Win!

At the end of 2012, I came to a creative dead stop. Everything I was attempting to force creatively was halted. I kicked and screamed a bit at first, with my brain working and reworking why things were so damn clunky, but after a week or so of getting way too fired up, I decided to switch things up entirely.

I created a new work out schedule with yoga 3 times per week and a little extra cardio tacked on afterwards. I also “allowed” myself to go to yoga in the middle of the day without feeling guilty about it, and my schedule naturally became attuned to before and after yoga tasks or creative time.

To work my creativity in a new way, I downloaded a new recipe app and started bookmarking and trying new dishes — especially things that I usually order out but have never tried to make for myself at home. From-scratch baking was also a fun adventure, and my Snickerdoodles were human and doggie approved (a friend’s dog snagged some off the table and took care of the left-overs).

I also slept more, relaxed, watched personally inspiring things, felt happier and allowed myself to do nothing if I felt like it, even though I wasn’t always sure how it would contribute directly to my creative goals. But isn’t that the beauty of creative inspiration? The surprise and wonder of a new idea, showing up for the first time? But with no space, how can it even show up for you to receive it?

Finding your creative stride means being willing to go deep, to kick around in the more mucky areas and work through your sticking points. And yes, there will be ones you work through and different ones that show up in the not-to-distant future. But knowing how to work and shape the flow WITH yourself is really what you need to find your stride, combined with being willing to change and release what no longer serves you. Especially how you think about it.