Overbooked. Crazy busy. No time to breathe. We are all of these things, and it’s depleting. We don’t schedule time to recuperate from our lives. Several years ago, I joined a group of people who create every day. We posted our efforts, we encouraged each other, we supported our efforts. We were embarrassed at our beginning efforts, but we kept working on it.
I decided to blog every day. Some days ideas ran like water through an arroyo after a thunderstorm. Other days, it was as if the toothpaste tube of ideas could not be squeezed productively one more time. Over time, the group dwindled. It was too time consuming to be creative every day. It started with one person promising to return as soon as her health issues resolved. Another said she’d skip just this one day. Another said her life was “frantic” and flipped the priorities—from creating every day to being frantic every day.
The tiny group that remained understood—who wants to demand time for creating when driving a car full of pre-teens must be done? Any other decision would be . . .selfish, right? After all, creativity is not really a productive pursuit when we have so many things on the to do list.
Writing every day is a chore. But the more I did it, the better I got at generating ideas and putting them in writing. Making time for creating became a meditation of sorts. I developed a mindful creating habit.
Mindful creating is a soulful practice. It feels like prayer and looks like art. And before you whisper, “but I’m not an artist, “ I would like you to widen the aperture on the word “Art.” Art can be many things. There is mindful parenting, dancing, caretaking and performing music. We can make art out of life, instead of making adrenaline to push us through life.
Few of us are born experts. The change is slow and incremental, and often not noticeable to those of us engaged in it. Much like going to the gym, we experience the effort first, long before we notice the results. And the effort is often why we quit, which stops the benefits of the results before we can enjoy them.
A daily creative practice is worthwhile. It conditions the mind, spirit and body in good ways. It allows us to get better slowly. It allows us to think over small issues, solve little problems, and try out little ideas. When we get good at that, it grows into nurturing those small ideas and projects while they grow into big ones. When we run into big problems, we have the expertise on how to handle them. Not bad for a practice most people don’t want to waste time on.
—Quinn McDonald is the owner of QuinnCreative and she is often overwhelmed. Lucky for her, she developed a habit of managing overwhelm with writing and art. It’s not foolproof, but it feels better than frantic.