By Cathy Baker
Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
Is there a secret to creative energy? Would my waking up earlier, staying up later, or slurping down lavender lattes at a rapid pace propel my creative energy into overdrive?
I can’t say for sure on the first two, but my lavender-laced lips can attest to the dramatic shift in my productivity, creativity, and concentration since building certain habits into my daily routine:
· Write during peak hours. It begins with defining your personal peak time of day. Many creative types are early risers but there are others, like Carl Sandburg, who worked late into the evening after everyone had gone to bed. If you’re not sure what time of day you feel most energetic, keep a journal for one week. Once you define your peak hours, protect that time like gold, because in a way, that’s exactly what it is.
· Enjoy a cup of tea—peppermint to be exact. Studies show this extract stimulates the brain and improves mental performance and focus. Not a fan of tea? Diffuse peppermint essential oil in your work-space.
· Cultivate curiosity. Read a new genre, take a different route home, try a new type of food once a month, or explore your city in new ways. Pretend you’re five-years-old (that’s not a stretch for some of us.) View landscapes from a lower vantage point, ask questions, and for goodness sakes, treat yourself to an ice cream cone with sprinkles. New experiences strengthen the neural pathways in our brain, as well as our writing.
·Create rituals. Build small, repeatable things that trigger your brain when it’s time to write. For instance, I switch from my pajamas to comfortable leggings and a top before any writing begins. The simple act of changing out of my nightclothes alerts my brain that it’s time to get to work. I also play a certain type of music only when I write. Others exercise, drink a cup of coffee, or do a crossword puzzle to flip the switch. Rituals differ with each person, so find what triggers your brain in to action and watch your productivity shift into overdrive.
· Put joy in your work-space. What sparks joy for you? Is it a family picture? The first dollar bill earned? Your most recent book cover? Maybe, like me, your spark of joy sits just outside. In my soon-to-be writing studio, the Tiny House on the Hill, an eight-foot-long window faces the Blue Ridge Mountains. This view both inspires and delights me. So, whatever sparks a flicker of delight within you, consider it your own personal oasis—a place to exhale and be refreshed.
Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. Cathy is a Hope*Writer and Bible teacher who has taught numerous studies and workshops over the past twenty-five years. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas and are currently building a writing studio, lovingly known as The Tiny House on the Hill. In addition to sharing updates on the progress on her blog and Instagram, Cathy is also currently writing a book that includes a collection of mini-memoirs about the journey.To connect with Cathy, @ the NEW Tiny House on the Hill https://www.cathybaker.org Author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach and Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains Twitter: @cathysbaker Facebook: Cathy Baker and Instagram: @cathysbaker