Since I am an at-home creative, I often get asked about how I structure my time. I usually say, I work constantly until I have to parent, to wife, or do some other thing. For me, weekends do not exist, and my work does not stop at 5:00. It is a constant work/life fusion that I find really fulfilling, but it does help to have structure to give direction to the day.
One way to build structure and routine is to practice Creative Rituals. Our days are full of routines and rituals--some we’ve chosen (that glorious cup of coffee) and some are imposed on us (a stressful commute). If you are like me and have very little structure imposed, the day can feel unwieldy and ungrounded. The good news is that you can choose how to anchor your creativity by practicing creative rituals. These rituals can be anything that helps you click into a creative, productive mode.
For me these practices are always changing depending on whatever creative phase I am in. For instance I have been known to meditate and to walk three miles everyday. As of now I do neither of these wonderful things--just can’t.
Other practices stick with me always. I will likely never surrender my beautiful cup of morning coffee or leave my bed unmade.
Here’s the thing. So much of creativity is taking the thing that exists in your head and heart and pulling them into the world-- making them manifest. This is daunting, but if you practice creative rituals, it’s like a warm-up that makes it easier to access that creativity. Think of that basketball player dribbling three times, setting her feet, and taking a deep breath before shooting a free throw. (That’s right, I used a sports metaphor.) These are seemingly mundane practices, that you do to prime yourself for the creative swish. (Did it again.) Since humans are creatures of habit, It is likely that you are already practicing rituals, but the point is that you can be more mindful and deliberate in your practice tying them to your creativity. In this way you can fine tune your rituals to make accessing the creativity even easier and more enjoyable.
Some Creative Rituals that I currently practice:
MORNING COFFEE: percolated with a Bialetti coffee maker, and consumed from a handmade mug (Different one each day)
CAT TREATS: I feed my cats treats in the morning and tell them they are glorious beings.
MAKE YOUR BED: I make my bed everyday. This is one of those things I never did until the last couple of years, and it is the most remarkable thing. If you don’t make your bed, give it a try for a couple of weeks. You will not be the same.
BULLET JOURNAL: I sit down with what I have previously outlined to refresh my memory. Then, I write down what I am grateful for, something negative that I want to let go of, and three things that I am going to focus on that day. (I borrowed this practice from another creative, and I don’t remember who it was. So, please forgive me for not giving her credit).
MEDICINE CARDS: I pick a Medicine Card (Jamie Sams and David Carson) and reflect on the animal’s message to see if it resonates with whatever I am feeling that day. I try to take that with me into the studio.
WALK TO THE STUDIO: As I walk along the mossy path to the studio, I talk to the trees and ask them for help to do my best work that day. I greet any animals and birds that might see or hear along the way. I feel gratitude for living here, for being here. Also, I love walking on the homemade stepping stones crafted from broken dishes and concrete, that flank the backside of the barn and lead to my studio steps. It’s here that I think about how happy I was when I made them, a literal first step to my art studio. That’s what all of this is about - creating pathways to your own creativity.
Once I am in the studio, I get to work!
These current rituals are working for me now, but I assume they will change. Here are some rituals that I have let go of but may return to another time. They may be helpful in sparking an idea for what Creative Ritual you find helpful for you!
-journaling three pages
-nature notes (noticing what is happening, writing it down, and drawing a picture of it)
-regular walks in the woods with wine
-making bouquets from wildflowers
-reading at breakfast
-petting my cats
-sketching daily in a sketchbook for the sake of sketching (really miss this one)
-Instagramming - I mean posting everyday. I still use Instagram everyday, but not always for business.
What Creative Rituals do you practice? Anything that you have been meaning to try?
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.