There’s nothing I love more than taking the time to be creative. This is seconded only by a good cup of coffee. Luckily for me, and many others, these two things go hand in hand.
After taking approximately five months off from writing, I quickly discovered that I’m not the sort of person who can survive without being creative. While most may be able to go years stunting their own creative streak, I began feeling the strain after the first few weeks. Of course, this isn’t the first time that I’ve smothered that side of myself. I worked for several years on a degree that burnt me out and followed through into a similar role. It took many painful losses, mental health breaks, and a lot of growth to learn that I can’t thrive without letting my creative flag fly.
Today, as I write this, is my first day getting back into the swing of things. I haven’t written anything worth reading in months, nor have I picked up my Apple Pen for anything other than work. So to say I’m nervous is a bit of an understatement.
This post is very much to remind me of not only my ability as a creative, but how to get myself back into that mindset.
6 Ways to boost your creative routine.
And what has coffee got to do with it!?
Start your routine off right.
One thing I’m relearning is establishing a solid beginning to my routine. This morning when I woke up, I wasn’t really sure how to go about getting into the right head space. I knew I had some work to do, I was aware of what I wanted to achieve but just couldn’t comprehend how to get there. My husband, a fellow creative, seems to slot himself in and out of this head space with little to no issue. So, why can’t I?
After a few months of nothing but working forty-five hours a week, it’s no wonder I’m lost when it comes to my creative routine. So, we made a cup of coffee, made the bed, and stepped out into our messy backyard to soak in the sunlight. It wasn’t overly early, it didn’t come with a magical feeling of sudden creative energy; it just felt peaceful.
Here are just a few different things that I’ll be trying over the coming weeks to reawaken my inner creativity. Some of these may work better than others, however, it’s about establishing ways that work for me, no matter how primitive or elaborate.
- Try some light, brain-boosting yoga.
- Get outside into the morning sunlight. Or afternoon sunlight if you took a little longer to get started. No judgment!
- Try working at a different part of the day. Switch up your routine and break your writing day into two halves. Or even trying writing during the evening rather than first thing in the morning.
- Bounce your ideas off your partner, friends, or even your social media channels. Take the feedback and work with it!
Make a plan!
It can be hard to prioritize when there’s so much going on in our heads. Between ideas, managing social channels, responding to emails, and even downtime, it can be overwhelming! That’s why I always try and ensure I make a list of things I need to do both that day and the week ahead. I also keep a part of my notebook separate for jotting down quick ideas for things such as articles, social media posts, and even artwork! Better still? I keep a page dedicated to websites and email addresses where I can pitch my writing ideas.
So, get to planning! Whether you use a dedicated planner or you use a spare notebook or diary, it’s always better to have a plan!
Make time for a coffee break.
Of course, I can’t let a routine post go by without a solid mention of coffee. For many creatives including myself, coffee plays a major role in my process. It helps me focus, snaps my brain into ‘work mode’, and warms me up on those cold, Irish mornings. Whether I’m working from home or heading out, I can’t possibly begin to process anything without caffeine in my system.
Some research shows that coffee inhibits creativity, and while this may be true for some, there’s no denying that it causes others to hyperfocus. Scientifically speaking, caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for the ‘come down‘ we feel, which in turn makeus feel drowsy. By blocking these receptors, coffee helps us continue to feel alert and rearing to go, even if we would usually be trying to slow down.
This explains why I get that sudden hit of energy and focus when I pound a cup of coffee first thing in the morning! Or before I begin writing in the evening.
That’s not to say that coffee is necessary for everyone to stay on top of their game. Even a cup of tea is enough for some people, or a cold drink rich in caffeine and electrolytes. The moral of the story is that if it gives you a boost of focus, use it to your advantage.
Switch up the soundtrack.
There’s nothing I love more than writing to a soundtrack. Whether it’s the latest podcast, a mix of my favourite bands, or some low-fi, I can’t write without sound. The noise you choose to put on in your workspace can help you focus, inspire you, and even boost your creativity. While constant conversations may be distracting, sounds such as low-fi, instrumentals, and even white noise can have the opposite effect.
In fact, when I was growing up, I needed music in order to fully commit myself to my studies. I recall listening to Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and even some movie soundtracks on my old CD player just to get me through my GCSEs!
Don’t push it.
This one is fairly simple to understand but still, we as creative people can’t seem to grasp it. If you have to push something, it’s just not working. Somedays we write or paint or create at high speed. On other days nothing wants to come out. That’s the simple curse of being human. Allow yourself space and time, and the words or the images will return. It may be a lack of inspiration or you could be feeling burnt out.
Take some time to regroup, go for a walk, have a nap, or even just take some time to relax. You will feel that spark again. I promise.