Every so often, something comes along and challenges you. Challenges how you do things, how you plot your day, how you speak and move and see. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and it’s take a little while for me to bring it here.
I’ve been a list maker for a long time. They make me happy, especially the crossing off of a task well done, or really, …sometimes just done. I put events on the calendar, no matter how small . Everything is an appointment.
But wait…something was missing. A couple of weeks ago, I started looking around my calendar. I looked at the google calendar first…not there. I moved on to the paper planner…not there either. It was no where. I went back weeks, then months.
Finally, back in July, I found what I was looking for: ART. ART was written in turquoise ink on July 2 at 1pm. I had scheduled ART. I stopped looking then, realizing that I was wasting precious time. I learned what I came for.
What happened was Big Magic. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a fabulous book about creative living, and I read it cover to cover on a plane to Las Vegas. And the effect was immediate. I thought as I read how awesome it was that I scheduled my time so well; I already had ART on my list. But 1 day in the last few months doesn’t cut it.
Gilbert posits that we not only have to say we’re open, we have to do the work so the ideas come. It’s up to us to find the way, the time to foster those creative sparks we all have. (WE ALL HAVE THEM.) Read it. Just do yourself the favor and read it.
After Big Magic got me all fired up, I revisited Gretchen Rubin‘s book Better than Before. It’s about habit, and she covers how difficult they are to create or change. This is another one for you to read; I won’t get into it, except to say that I had to come here first to get clear on how to rebuild my habit of creativity.Rubin has some solid ideas about how we form and resist habits, and I was definitely resisting.
Now, you might be thinking habit and creativity…hmmmm. “But I want to be wildly creative and just be and make art, and commune with my crayons, clay, camera, etc.” Let me ask you this: when is the last time you were wildly creative? When was the last time you communed with your art project of choice?
Exactly…was it on your list? Did it have a place among the other daily tasks you check off? Mine didn’t either. My head exploded a little when I figured out how much I had put off being creative. I identify as a creative person. I’ll tell you straight up that I am creative, but I wasn’t giving my Creativity a permanent home in my day. I was treating it like dessert, you know, something you get to have occasionally when you’re good or you’re celebrating. It showed.
Once this realization hit me like a truck delivering craft supplies, I made a change. I added ART back to my daily calendar. It’s there first thing. I write, I color, I make something with my hands. I invite it in and let it have a home with me. I’ve already noticed a change. Not only are my days brighter, but my ideas pop. I have them more frequently, and with greater clarity on how to bring them forward and share. And I am a happier human. Score all around. (And thanks to Gilbert and Rubin for their assistance!)
So,I have to wrap this up because the next thing I get to do is color. It’s on my calendar. And it’s first, because it’s vital to my well being, as much, if not more, than any gym time.
Got your crayons handy? Paint? Put it on the calendar…see what happens!