fuel to the fire: how to get your creativity game on.


 Most days, this is how you'll find me. Perched in front of my laptop with my creative "necessities" laid out in front of me. Journal in hand, I'll find a table at one of my neighborhood coffee joints (there are like twenty, I live in Seattle, after all) to get my inspiration on. Favorite pen, check. Filled water bottle, check. Coffee or tea, check. Favorite focusing essential oils, check. And... go. 

I love writing. It's like my fuel. Forget the caffeine, what really gets me going is putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were). It doesn't matter if I'm writing about healthy eating or something crazy that I learned yesterday, if I'm waxing poetic about relationships or giving you the down and dirty on food politics... I freakin' love it. 

I've got my favorite pens, my favorite journals, my favorite music to write to. I've captured a rhythm and a routine to my writing (which has allowed me to bring you these blog posts each week without fail). I've learned what environments inspire different topics, and where I need to be to get stuff done

This past week, I filled the final page in a notebook that I purchased just prior to launching Wellness by Kate in Seattle this past January. Wrapped in recycled paper, it was one of my favorites. Spiral bound (my go-to) with a pocket in the front, it holds inspiration, business building tips and tricks, notes from meetings, appointments, and doodles that fueled my creative fire. 

In honor of this notebook's "passing" (aka finding its resting place on my bookshelf), I am bringing you my tips for cultivating creative ritual -- and I'm hoping that you'll share some of yours with me! 

fuel to the fire: how to get your creativity game on.

ONE. Define creativity on your own terms. Creativity doesn't always look like what we might categorize as "art." Your creative muse might inspire you to volunteer, create an organization or crunch data just as easily as she might push you to write or paint or cook . Creativity is a natural extension of whatever gets you juiced. So stop judging yourself for not being "artsy" and start creating whatever gives you life.

TWO. Do it. Do it a lot. "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou. Just like a muscle, creativity only works when you use it. So write, or paint, or volunteer, or whatever gets you moving in the direction of creativity. And do it a lot. As a writer, I sit down to write everyday. It might be crappy, it might be cliched, it might be brilliant, but I'm always writing. You don't have to publish it or share it, but moving the creative muscle keeps it healthy and working!

THREE. Make lists. I haven't always been a list-maker. But now you'll find the walls of my kitchen workspace covered in lists. Blog post brainstorming. Lists of things that make me happy. Lists of things I want to change. List of my favorite places, my favorite people, my favorite quotes. List writing -- and the act of putting those lists on paper -- inspires. It forces you to think outside of the box, to download all of the chaos into something that can actually be used. Lists are the fodder for creative genius.

FOUR. GTFO. Get. OUT. Changing your environment creates actual neurological shifts in the brain. Play around with this. Whenever I'm stuck, I grab the dog and go for a walk around the block. The combination of movement and observation is magic for me. Whenever I know that I need to write something soul centered, I make sure that I'm writing in an area where I can catch some extra inspiration from the people around me. You'll know when you're in a place that facilitates communication with your muse.

FIVE. Respect the muse. There's a reason that I carry around a notebook with me everywhere that I go. The reality is that if you don't respect the muse, she'll stop showing up. You might tell yourself that, if it's important enough, you'll remember later. But that's just not how it works. So, when she shows up, listen. Write it down, sketch it out. If you're at an event, escape to the bathroom to write down lyrics or lists or phrases. The more you listen, the better you'll get at recognizing the voice of the creative muse apart from the normal chaotic chatter in your mind.

SIX. Magic lives outside of your comfort zones. Over the past year, I've spent some time working through Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map -- the premise of which goes a little like this: get clear on how you most deeply want to feel and then... go do things that make you feel the way you want to feel. In our Type A culture, it's pretty revelatory on a personal level. One of my "Core Desired Feelings" is EXPANSIVE. I want to live wide, open, expanding into spaces that previously, well, scared the shit out of me. So, I write about things that scare me, do things that bust the comfort zones wide open, have conversations that expand my view of the world. Talk about material for transformation. Within the confines of being safe, go explore, my friend. Magic can be found.

SEVEN. The good stuff takes time. Be patient with yourself. Don't judge your creation in comparison to someone else's. (Was that two pieces of advice?) The really good stuff takes time to create, so let it percolate and simmer. Whether it's a painting or a book, an entrepreneurial pursuit or a new entree, give it the time that it needs to cook.

I am so curious about what you're creating in your life - and the tips you have for doing it! Join the Wellness by Kate community and share below!

Kate McCarthyComment