If you’re a creative spirit or entrepreneur or freelance artist of any kind, everything can feel like magic. Inspiration seems to be all around you. And it can feel as if you have a superpower, as if you can see the world in a way others cannot.
And then there are times when it can all feel so very overwhelming. The words, ideas, and music that is pressing on your spirit can feel like they’re going to spill out and splash about and not make any sense.
And when that overwhelm becomes palpable, it can seem as if abandoning your work, quitting your creative pursuit, and walking away from it all is the best idea. It seems a safe and inviting solution.
When that overwhelm happens, I do hope you stop for a moment, but I hope you stop to take tiny steps to protect your creative spirit, not abandon your work altogether.
For when you do this, the overwhelm will fade, and the fear will soften, and the work will flow like water from a faucet.
Here are seven tiny steps to take to protect your creative spirit:
1. Walk away from the words .
Whether it’s an article, a blog post, a play, or the next great American novel , sometimes, you need to step away from the screen for a minute. Sometimes it’s two. Let your brain rest — beating it into submission so that the words will come pouring out will never work. Have a real meal and not a working one. Let yourself have a conversation, too. When you practice living fully, your best writing will become unearthed.
2. Stop comparing your creativity to other people’s.
That’s counterproductive to your artistry.
3. Find the light.
There’s a myriad of natural light benefits. Vitamin D is a beautiful thing. Looking at the sky is a lovely thing, too. Did you know that many photographers who shoot weddings and other milestones will opt to shoot outside in natural light, even if it’s freezing outside? It’s because it’s the best. Resist the urge to hole away in a dark room with your art and your reheated cup of coffee for hours on end, and look for the light.
Nothing good comes from working yourself into a tizzy. Or an anxiety attack. Or a level of stress that’s so deep it’ll cut into your heart and bones. Breathe. And then breathe again. And then keep breathing so that you can keep the rhythm of your day.
5. Drink more water.
It’s a simple trick and tool, and yet it’s one of the most important ones. Life in general is a lot easier if you’re not dehydrated.
6. Work at the art you’re trying to make.
JK Rowling did not write Harry Potter in one day, and Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel overnight. Artistry takes time — but it takes constant work, too.
7. Keep a long list of ideas that come to you.
Make a list in the notes app on your phone and write them down. Maybe sometimes it’ll be a sentence. Perhaps it’ll be two. Other times it’ll just be a word — it doesn’t matter, just as long as it’ll generate an idea for you later. Having a list of ideas to work on will make your work all the less daunting and all the more efficient when you sit down at your desk or studio to begin.