Being a creative person is not an easy feat. We all started out on the creative process because we enjoy creating as a means of free expression. This leads us to try to turn our pursuits into a career. Yet in the meantime we all have bills to pay, jobs to go to, errands to run.
There are tons of resources on the web about increasing productivity. We can manage our time better and avoid procrastination. But being creative isn’t like running errands or taking care of tasks. Creating requires all those organizational skills plus the inspiration to make something new. You have to be ready to take advantage of inspiration, and be organized enough to follow through with projects.
The paradox of creation is that it comes from both within and without. No creation happens without outside influence. It’s the background or context of a work that gives it meaning. Yet to create a person must synthesize this context into a new creation. The context reaches a critical point where everything clicks in a moment of inspiration.
You can’t predict when inspiration will occur. The trick is to be prepared. When you get home after a fourteen-hour day, and by all logic you should be exhausted, but you get an idea that’s burning to be expressed. Then you reach for your guitar but you’re missing a string. So instead you watch TV and fall asleep.
When you lead a busy life, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time with inspiration. It is fleeting and urgent. That’s why one of my prime tips of creating is to always be prepared for inspiration. Not just in terms of being organized, either. It’s a mental preparation to be poised to grasp the moment of inspiration.
The memo app on your phone is your best friend. When you’re out with your friends you might get a great idea – save it there for later. You figure out the last lyric to a song at 4:20 A.M.- don’t wait! Finish the song right at that moment. Inspiration DOES NOT wait!
Creative works don’t always happen in a flash of inspiration, however. Sometimes the only way to complete a project is with a grind. Maybe you’re a musician who needs to lay down backing tracks. Or a writer who needs to flesh out a piece after proofreading. Or an artist who needs to fill in a tedious, detailed pattern.
Once again, the answer is organization. When you’re always busy, you can’t wait around to get to it later. Busy people MAKE time for what they care about. Creators need to create and will be unhappy if they don’t. Don’t be unhappy. Set aside time to finish and organize your old projects just like you would set aside time to go to work.
Creators must create, it is in our nature. If you are stressed out from a busy life, channel it for inspiration. Then be ready to grab it by the horns when it comes.
Eliott – founder