(or at least, that's what I like to think)
Hi there! Since it is the beginning of a new year and so many people is talking about resolutions, I thought I would share three habits or routines I’ve incorporated in my life this last year and have made a huge difference for me.
First of all, though, let me tell you: it’s taken me a long time to understand that creativity has more to do with habit and routine than one would initially expect. Many people associate creativity with notions like chaos, disorder, free will and spontaneity, and all of these might be well, -or not, depending on who you are-, but I’ve learned by my own that the muse, the flow or whateveryoumaycallit, more often than not, strikes when it catches me working; and that there are daily habits and routines that help me set a mental state in which creating and working with words becomes easier, funnier and more productive than if I skip them. Without further ado, I proceed to explain them, in the hopes that they might be of use, or just inspire you to explore new ones.
1. Yoga: I discovered the great benefits of daily yoga a little more than one year ago, when I begun to wonder in the realm of self-occupation full time, hence creating and experimenting with new routines and schedules for working from home. This can be tricky, as most of you surely know, especially when you combine your writing jobs (copy-writing, translating, editing for others, etc. with writing your own novel and working on personal projects). Since I was spending so much more time at home I decided to give a try to stretch and exercise every morning, hence yoga seemed the right match for me. I searched for classes in youtube and after trying three or four different channels I felt in love with Yogamazing, in a way that I’ve been doing yoga almost every morning since then. Chaz Rough is a splendid teacher, the lessons are free, have a variable length (most of them are 20 minutes to one hour long) and are focused on specific workouts, so you can chose the ones you feel will be best for you, depending on how you are feeling, both psychically and mentally. Since I am not happy by default when awaken, yoga helps me to change my mood into a positive one, and to feel way more focused and light headed in barely half an hour, which has an effect on the rest of the day, in the way I interact with people, with myself, and the work I do.
2. Running: I’ve never been a runner. I’ve always thought that running just because, without some kind of wild animal or crazy person behind you, made no sense at all. I’ve always been more or less fitted and had no need to workout to stay that way, so I reserved my running energies for the minimum required for sport classes in school and when I wasn’t at school anymore I just stopped running. That is, until I got twenty-nine, had the corresponding existential “thirties’ crisis” (mine occurred a year before), and quit smoking, and, therefore, gained a few pounds. Suddenly food was delicious, and I started to finish the dishes’ contents in front of me, every lunch and dinner, something I hadn’t done never before. So, a few months later I wasn’t as fit as I always had been, and I wasn’t getting any younger either. That’s how I started to run one year ago. I read about this application on ABM, downloaded it and committed to it with the help of my boyfriend that jumped on board as well. The first weeks were tiring, challenging, and achieving the final objective (running 5K straight) seemed impossible when I just got tired from running 5 straight minutes. But you know what? You endure. You keep doing it, and pushing yourself, and you realize that you are much more capable that you initially though. And that feels awesome, because it doesn’t just affects you in your running, but in all the rest of the areas in your life as well: you feel better, you release stress, you become more self-assured about yourself and your limits. You feel happier. And more fit. I can’t say I’ve been as committed and regular to running as I have been to yoga. My goal was to run at least two days a week and a third of the time I have only run one day per week, and some weeks when I felt tired and under the weather I didn’t run at all. But that’s OK. That’s what a new year is for. To keep doing what works for you, and to improve the things you have to improve. So this year I newly commit to running two days a week, not because I have to, but because I want to. Because it makes me feel better and it’s stupid to avoid doing the things that make you feel better, even if they aren’t easy or don’t appeal to you at the moment. And, on that note, here’s the third thing I wanted to talk to you about:
3. Writing (even, and specially, when you don’t feel like it): You see: I am a late bloomer. It took me a great amount of time, anguish and worry to understand that most writers have a hard time sitting down to write. Hence I thought that, just because I procrastinated endlessly in the middle of my first novel, I wasn’t meant to be a writer at all. Then I learned the truth: you are a writer because you write. Nobody said you got to do it cheerfully and feeling over the moon. So you just sit down, every day, and write. When you feel like it and when you don’t. When you have something to say and when you feel all has been said already and you are just wasting your time looking at the blank page/screen. Because if you resist the urge to run away from the screen the first five or ten minutes, you become to stop thinking about yourself and your fingers just start pushing keyboards, one after the other, sentence after sentence, until you have some first shitty draft finished. And then you work on it. You make it better. But you can’t improve something that it isn’t there, so you have to pass the first resistance. You have to sit down and write.
This is, as most things are, easier said than done, but, as running, and doing the things that make you feel better, it becomes a matter of commitment and willpower. And it’s totally worthy.
What do you think? Which are your daily habits or routines to boost creativity? I would love to hear from you.
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