A creative mind is a kind of mushy not often found in this world.
Not in a ‘this apple is too old to eat’ kind of way. More in a, ‘you can’t sit on a plate of flan or you’ll flatten it’ kind of way. It’s malleable in all the right ways, and when it’s healthy and strong, the best stuff comes shooting out of it.
Yeah, like sparklers.
Like a new pair of glasses or first-edition Chewbacca figure, it’s best to keep a creative mind protected 24-7 in the box it came in. But what fun is that? And what function? Just don’t sit on your glasses. Or lose Chewie’s crossbow.
Today’s guest post is on how to protect your creative mind – without having to box it up like a rabid antelope.
It’s by author Britt Skrebanek. She’s been a #GirlsRock candidate. She’s a brilliant writer and purveyor of the creative. Her mind is so creative I want to donate the box mine came in to protect hers extra. Please give her a warm CD welcome.
How to Protect Your Creative Mind
It takes courage to be an artist. Yet, no matter how brave you are, your creative mind is far from invincible.
I’m a writer and a dancer. I’m married to a musician and several good friends of mine are painters. I’ve battled with postmortem depression right after the performance ended and the curtain closed on the stage. I’ve spent years writing and publishing books that only a handful of people have read.
No matter the artistic medium, we artists share very similar experiences with high highs and low lows. Here are a few techniques I’ve learned over the years that will help you protect your creative mind so you can produce better work and feel more fulfilled.
1. Don’t overwork yourself.
You can’t “be on” all the time. Try to flow with creative cycles and don’t beat yourself up when your art isn’t going your way. I used to force myself to write all day on Sundays. Once I started running my content marketing business, the last thing I wanted to do on the weekends was stare at my laptop and be productive.
I no longer hold myself to a writing schedule, because creative spontaneity helps me produce my best work. Words on a page are just words on a page if they lack energy and emotion. Work in a way that is most beneficial for your creative output.
2. Try a creativity time out.
A time-out is necessary for resting your mind and sorting things out. Yoga and meditation work for me. Hiking is a great escape as well because it takes me far away from my computer screen where nature soothes my eyes and my soul.
Travel is another method I lean on whenever I need headspace. I especially love traveling internationally where people don’t speak English. When I can’t understand the language, it helps me totally disconnect from writing since my brain can’t process the words. Obviously, travel is very inspiring as well.
3. Surround yourself with inspiring people.
Occasionally, take inventory of the people in your life. Who inspires you? Who distracts you? As a creative person, you are like a sponge. You soak in everything around you—that includes emotions and experiences of other humans. Be around people that add to your life rather than subtract from it.
Creating art is an introverted endeavor. However, human interaction is equally important. Connecting with someone infuses your creative mind with life beyond your own. By surrounding yourself with a diverse group of people, you’ll learn from them and see things differently, which has the power to make your creative output richer than when you internalize too often.
4. Consume content with care.
Content is everywhere we turn on the internet. Some of it is interesting, relevant, and motivational for you. In truth, a lot of this content is noise that doesn’t serve your creative mind—ads, marketing, agendas.
Remember that your creative mind is this big sponge. You have to protect it by being calculated with what you absorb. Limit your content consumption, especially on social media. You’re getting hit in the face with life’s moments from those that probably don’t fall into the “inspiring people” category mentioned previously. Social media is experiential overload…use it wisely.
5. Learn and get motivated.
Venture out into the world of self-education and motivation, whatever that means for you. You know, I don’t read much fiction anymore. Because I write all the time, the last thing I want to look at in the evening is a bunch of words on a page. Let’s say you’re a visual artist walking around a museum. What do you do? You criticize other people’s work and your own work.
The goal is to fuel your creativity, not walk away feeling inadequate or competitive. For example, I might watch a historical biopic because it relates to historical fiction but it’s a different medium. When you are seeking avenues for inspiration, find activities that are adjacent to your creative medium rather than something that directly relates to it.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go—purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything…whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” Tina Turner said that one.
Protecting your creative mind from external elements is all on you. It’s a special thing to be able to create. Not everyone can do it. You can…so take care of your creative source.
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Thanks -Coach Daddy / enjoyed these tips from author Brit Skrabanek
— really liked the point about guarding what we put in our mind – whether social media or anywhere – and also really thinking abiut the people around us – etc
And nice half moon pose in the phot –
Glad you liked it! She’s got that yoga stuff down too, doesn’t she? We nurture ourselves by the surroundings we put ourselves in, both in person and on our screens. The enlightening part? We have a choice of what to let in and leave out, to a large extent!
great advice from someone who clearly knows of what they speak. and of course, your advice too, about the sitting on your glasses, maybe someday I’ll remember this )
She’s pretty good at this, Beth. Now if I could only do something about losing my wallet or slopping on my shirt …
Such great advice! I’m a dancer and a writer, so this definitely speaks to me for both outlets. I also have given up on a writing schedule, as it just leads to writer’s block. Thanks for all the tips!
Glad you liked it, Shann. I’m sure you can see applicable ways this stays relevant in both your creative endeavors. All our creative processes grow and evolve, too. There’s beauty in that.
A fellow dancer/writer! We are rare creatures. Great to meet you…glad you enjoyed the creativity tips.
You guys should for a guild.
Consume content with care – yes, yes, YES. I get caught up in the comparison game when I spend too much time reading other’s work. I find it definitely can put a damper on my own creativity. When that happens I try to step back and censor what I’m taking in a bit more and it helps. Great post, love it!
It’s anything, from Instagram to NPR, Beth. Even regular radio … you never know how a morning show or song is going to sway you.
Glad you liked this post. Britt has been doing this forever and really knows about so much, creative care included.
My hat is off to the creatives out there, protecting the goose that lays golden eggs sounds like the only way to go.
My noggin’s not good in a lot of things, Meems, so I’m happy to be able to write a little.
Love this post so much.
Consume with care just spoke volumes to me. I’m working on my sponge not letting in negativity and just being aware of it is a huge step forward.
Thank you! We creative types are major sponges, so we have to be especially careful about what we absorb.
I know I’ve been even more mindful of it since I first read this.
Thanks, Britt, for promoting the idea that one does not have to have a schedule to create. The mind is continually churning out stories; however, finding time to sit down and sort them out is a different matter.
Scheduling creativity works for some people. I used to be one of them but I’m not anymore. We have to do what’s right for ourselves. Just because one writer writes 1,000 words every day doesn’t mean that we should.
All wonderful advice and I do them all in one fashion or another. Thanks so much for another great interview Eli! 😎
Thank you so much for having me over, Eli! Always a pleasure to collaborate.
I’ve been doing this seven years, Britt, and I think I’ve known you the whole time. So blessed.
A wonderful read and great advice from an author I admire – I’m one of the handful that has read at least one of her books 😉
Glad you liked it Dale!