Today I share with you the first of a series of posts on The Power of Creative Routines to support you in your creativity and in actually living your dreams.
This is something most, if not all, professional artists know. And it can be the dividing point between those who realize their dreams and those who don’t. So read on!
[Other news: I have space in my schedule for a few more Creativity Coaching & Mentoring folks. If you find yourself struggling to fulfill your life dreams… If you want abundant creativity, fulfillment and freedom in your life… If you are frustrated, stuck and tired of going it alone… contact me here to set up a free Discovery Session.]
The Power of Routines Part 1
There’s a popular notion that a new habit can be formed in 21 days. A simple habit, like taking a vitamin pill each morning, can happen in as little as 21 days. But, studies show that anything more involved, like cultivating a new exercise regime or, say, a regular creative practice, takes more than 84 days to become habitual. 84 days was the length of one of the studies.
My own experience working with people for many years to cultivate healthy creative habits bears this out.
People often ask me why The Artist’s Way course that I teach is 90 days long. They want the quick fix, less commitment. But, in my experience, 90 days is the shortest possible time to form life-long habits and perspectives that nourish and sustain a happy, healthy creative life. Most of us need six months or more for those new practices and ways of being to become truly habitual.
Habits Are Automatic
A new activity, way of thinking or being becomes a habit when it becomes automatic. That means you don’t question each time whether or not you are going to do it. You just do it. And there’s very little friction or resistance, very little wear and tear.
For many people brushing your teeth is a habit. You do it daily without thinking. You don’t fight with yourself over whether you are going to do it or not.
Writing is like this for me. I have studio time at certain times of the week, and I just show up without question and begin. In fact, I can’t wait to get into my studio, even when the work is hard. Part of why this works so well for me is because I have ways to enter into the work, but that’s a topic for another day.
Why Bother Forming Creative Routines?
Forming habits and routines that nourish and sustain your creativity and your life dreams helps you stop being constantly at war with yourself over trying to get yourself to create, or judging everything you create, or unhappy about what you are or are not producing.
Instead you create a life in which you feel that eagerness, the playful delight, the curiosity, the wonder and the inspired flow of creating, and you are able to tap into that regularly. You feel alive and aligned with yourself. You’re doing what you love and making it a central part of your life. And that feels good.
Without Habits, Resistance Wins
For many people, making art is not a habit, so it comes and goes, if it happens at all. If you plan on doing it, part of you tries to weasel out of it or distracts you with a million other things to do first. Most of the time that part of you wins.
When you think about making art, you may dread it, argue with yourself about it, or simply avoid it. Then you feel frustrated with yourself and think you are lacking some fundamental quality required to sustain a creative life.
To support and sustain yourself in living the life you dream of, in following your heart’s dreams and desires, the way becomes much easier and more enjoyable when you put positive, supportive habits into place.
Creative Routines Feel Good
The good news is that the habits that support a creative life are generally enjoyable and fulfilling. And the relief you get from not fighting yourself anymore and actually doing what you love and long to do is huge. You also free up a lot of energy.
But first you have to make your creative practices into a habit, a regular routine. They need to become embedded in your daily life. Then you start reaping big rewards.
But I Hate Routines!
Many artists or creative types are averse to routines. They love spontaneity and don’t want to be tied down. But, without any structure or habits, they often find themselves at sea in their creative lives. Either they don’t know what to focus on creatively, so they don’t begin or fritter the time away, or they simply do not making any time to do the things they love.
Many artists resist routines because they don’t know how to create routines that actually work for them and their lifestyle and personality.
They also don’t know how to foster routines in a loving way. Instead they summon the Inner Taskmaster, who tries to bully them into keeping routines, and then they resist and rebel. They find themselves locked in an endless war within.
So, they try and fail and become convinced that routines don’t work for them. Meanwhile, life continues to feel unruly and chaotic, and they don’t make much progress toward their big life dreams.
If you develop routines and rituals that feel good to you and that make doing what you love and following your dreams a part of your daily life, you’ll soon find you have a life you really love.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how to start fostering creative routines that work for you. We’ll look at the kinds of routines and support that foster a flourishing creative life and help you realize your heart’s big dreams.
Until then, may you flourish in your creativity and in your life,
P.S. How do you feel about creative routines? What gets in the way of sticking to them?
Post your comment here and I’ll respond.
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