Welcome to the third post in ‘A Creative Life Online‘. This post is about finding creativity in routine.
Finding Creativity In Routine
I need a routine. Not just for myself, but for everyone who depends on me. In my younger years, I could write through the night and sleep a bit during the day and write through two more nights.
I am a night owl. I have always been. My blood thrums and the story sparks after eleven, at two the words sing, but these days I need to be up by five. My life doesn’t allow me to work like that anymore. I have little people who depend on me, I have a day job that needs me to be awake while the sun shines. I need to cook dinner at dinner time and do the school run at the required hour and, if I’ve been up all night, I’m not very nice.
I’ve had to learn to create a routine that allows me to be creative and productive on demand. Is every day successful? Hell no. Do I miss the two a.m. buzz? Very much, but a healthy creative process serves me and those around me much better in the long run.
This specific attitude and behaviour change has me feeling less frazzled, calmer and more in charge of my work than ever.
I actually hate this quote, but only because it’s so true. This was not an overnight change. It has taken me more than 18 months to teach myself this and I still struggle some days. In this month I’ll share some of the tools and teachers who helped me create and sustain a routine.
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. She is my latest favourite author. I ‘discovered’ her last year and can’t read enough of her work. What the Wind Knows is time travel/magic realism and I thought it very appropriate for a discussion about time management. Hahaha. She also writes proper fantasy with shapeshifters and kingdoms which I loved. I was in a bit of writing rut when I read What the Wind Knows and it was the book that made think I want to write again. Her ability to write across several genres motivated me to organise my work and allocate proper time to specific projects.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’m not the biggest fan of non-fiction. I think it’s a text-book hangover from back in the day. I still prefer to read fiction but this book is well written, engaging and fascinating. It’s not so much about setting and creating habits, but about how we function as people, companies, and societies.
Movies or series:
Marie Kondo on Netflix. It’s weird, but if my house is a mess, my life is a mess. And no, you don’t have to throw out all your books. I still have ALL of mine, because they do spark joy. I did tidy things like the Tupperware. Why does nothing fit? I got rid of linen that I don’t have beds for anymore. Clothes I wore before I had kids and millions of condiments that had expired and just sat in the fridge door.
Simplified. This is the account for the famous Simplified planner. Check out their Annual Simplicity Challenge. It’s a 30-day challenge, posted in January, but you can do it over any 30 days. They share simplicity tips and everything is just plain pretty and beautiful and gorgeous. Follow: @simplified Their planner is, of course, a huge hit.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I’m still not done with this one. I dip into it time and again. Her work is so beautiful, but often overwhelms me a little. I feel like I’m not that good at these emotions yet, but I’m growing and learning so I keep going back.
I failed at this one, but I am desperate to succeed, so I’m going to try again. I downloaded Robin Sharma’s 5am Club app. I can’t do mornings. I’ve said that, but I want to do it. Only challenge is, it will be the 4am club for me. I haven’t read the book, although I have seen, read and watched a lot of his stuff. I’ll try it again later, because, well, I feel like I should be doing mornings. I think I’ll start with the book next time.
Bullet Journals. It is my dream to use a bullet journal, but I’m not there yet. I am no further than using a highlighter in my calendar, but a girl can dream. You can read more about the theory here. The website caption reads ‘The Analog method for the digital age’. I love that.
I’m still a paper person. I like to have all my dates in my hand. I use a weekly desktop planner and a monthly calendar. The desktop planner I buy, because I like a big one, but the calendar is a free printable I find on Pinterest. Effective planning is a necessity to juggle all the projects and deadlines in my life.
Free printable calendar: Lovely Planner
Big, desktop planners: Macaroon
I hope these tools will help you find your way around the internet and into a healthy routine so that you can produce more work than ever before.
by Mia Botha
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