Every day we have our routines. We wake up a certain way, we get dressed a certain way, we eat or don’t eat a certain way, and we worry and fret about our days a certain way. Everyone is busy, especially creative people. We live a delicate balance of working to live and living to create. Some of us have the luxury of jobs where we get to be creative, but this can also be a double-edged sword. Sometimes the creative job saps you of the energy to envision or complete your own personal work. But lets face it: work is work, and it tires us out.So we like to unwind. But there’s always a bit of guilt attached to the unwinding, because if you unwind for too long, you’re wasting valiable creating time. Every hour of television is an hour you could have worked on your novel, or painted, or sculpted, or drawn, or danced. Every moment out is a moment you could have been in. That might be pushing it a bit, because we all need a life, but I think it’s at least partially true. We also tend to procrastinate against the things we should be doing. I’ll often do the dishes instead of sitting down to write, because it puts it off for a few more minutes. So why do we put off what we want to do the most?
I call this hitting the Creative Snooze Button. (Don’t you love how I can go from slamming the Think Outside The Box cliché to trying desperately to create my own in a few short blog postings? Luckily people have very short memories. See the U.S. Elections as a prime example.)
Have you ever stayed up too late, but wanted to get up the next day to exercise? I bet when the morning came, and the birds started chirping, and the alarm clock went off you decided to hit the snooze button. Why? Because you could put it off. You could squeeze in another 10 minutes of rest. And then another. And another. A serial snoozer.
We do that with creating too. It’s so much easier to sleep than it is to motivate yourself to get up and get fit, just like it’s so much easier to consume instead of create. I could surf the internet for days, catching interesting little tid-bits here and there to talk about, jumping down endless rabbit holes. I could watch another movie. Or a podcast. Or listen to music. Or play video-games. Or **gasp** channel surf on the tel-e-vision (remember that old machine?).
But it’s hard to create. Consumption is passive. Creation is active. Sleeping is passive, Exercise is active. Which is better for you? Well, we need to do both. If you stop sleeping, you will actually go mad. If you stop consuming, you will have nothing to think about or react to. It’s about balance.
And it’s not about will-power. Will might help you, but it’s not going to get you there. Resolve helps. Passion helps. But the best way to stop hitting the Creative Snooze Button is to work on developing a routine. Once you have a routine in place, you will look forward to your creative time. You will get addicted to it.
In the coming days, I’ll write about ways you can integrate a powerful creative routine into your life. Some of this is still in beta, so if you’re in the mood to be a creative lab rat for a few months, I’ll tell you when to start looking for the cheese.