Routinised Creativity – Challenge Rejected…

….and rejected rather badly.

So. The short story is that I’ve dumped this challenge for now.

Why?

By default actually. I didn’t stick to it for 2 continuous days after starting.

Now before you go around tut-tutting me about “giving up” “not giving it a fair chance” and “trying harder” (side note: hate the last one with particular gusto), let me tell you something about myself.

I’m not a kid. I’ve seen myself for many, many years. And I know that when a routine is truly beneficial for me, the biggest sign is that I’m excited about it & look forward to it from Day 1.

I don’t have to “make myself” like anything – either it hits a chord, or it doesn’t.

Over the years I’ve spent (edit: wasted) many a time and useful energy which could’ve been doing useful things (or watching Netflix – hey, watching Netflix is better than spending time berating yourself for something completely random) in “trying to get myself to do stuff” that didn’t quite fit. I’ve learnt through experience, that when it doesn’t hit a chord from the very beginning, it has usually not proven to be of much value to me.

Now, this is absolutely not to say that every body should do this and those who stick to annoying routines and try to plough on and try to get “get done with it” should change their ways. Quite the opposite.

For me, “getting stuff done” attitude is not nearly as optimal as “la la la, lets DO this, b*&^%es!”

So, I’m not going to push on with the routine that didn’t quite work for me. It just didn’t get my juices flowing, I sort of dreaded that particular time block on the second day – and refused to cooperate with my own Challenge. Well.

Now that we’ve made our introductions, we can take this thing somewhere.

Creating Everyday by Routine – Challenge Accepted

I’m a creation junkie.

I would like to believe I’m a “prolific creator”, because I’m happiest when I look at a nice little bundle of things I’ve just given rise to.

I’m someone who tries to build routines all the time, to support said creation.

I think every creator of any kind (artist, writer, business person, any one really, who makes something out of nothing, that, by the way is my definition of “creator“) has faced this challenge at some point – how do I create, and keep creating good quality material consistently while also enjoying myself in the process?”

There are many components to this question:

  • how do I create
  • how do I keep creating
  • good quality material
  • consistently
  • while also enjoying myself in the process

The reason why most creators ended up, sort of getting addicted  to creating was because of the way it made them feel – good, to put it rather simplistically (it’s a feeling of utmost joy & accomplishment, from a state of flow, where you enjoy and thrive in the feeling of being in that moment, not realising the minutes or hours pass by, and the joy of beholding something that you have created literally out of nothing).

But, most of us also feel at some point, and we have reached a bit of a stumbling block. And are often searching for the best way to make it as easy as possible for us to tune out every thing else, and simply create.

At this stage, your logical mind must most naturally be enquiring “Erm, then why don’t you do just that – tune out and create? Why are you writing pointless articles like this?

Well, because, intelligent reader, the reason is that at times it seems quite an arduous task to tune out. There are so much distractions readily available that tuning out of one thing mostly leads to tuning into something else. While creating takes a backseat.

Ever felt like you know you want to lose those 10 pounds and that you know that you need to exercise and eat well, yet you don’t end up doing it. When you do do it, it feels good, right?

Yet, you don’t do it?

It’s futile to doubt your intentions of doing it – because just like those yearly resolutions and tax deadlines – they are always there. Yet, it doesn’t get done.

Now you say, “okay, all that is great but what are YOU doing about it?

I recently read this informative article The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers – yes I am the sort of person who googles about other people’s habits & routines during my “breaks”.

The common thread I found was this – most of them committed to blocking off a chunk of time around creating as a routine.

I’m a total sucker for routines so I’m thinking of giving this a try.

Are there challenges? YES.

Like, blocking off all distractions.

Doing the same thing at the same time every day (even weekends).

Sticking to it when it feels like its getting me nowhere.

Am I going to try? Yes. Because I’ve noticed massive gains in my work life when I have committed to a particular kind of routine.

I shall try to report over here how my routine goes.

The Routine that I’ve set for myself is this:

Create every single day from 730 am – 11 am.

It’s not difficult really. I any way usually work at this time. The challenge is this – all work is not “creation”. In fact, most “work” in my line of work is not creation really. But creation is obviously critical to work – as you see, I am an artist.

Well this challenge has already cause one good thing to happen – I wrote this article out.

A bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, but I think this thing works!

Work from Home – What it Means to Different People

To people I’ve just met and have unsuccessfully tried to explain what I do for a living:

Netflix – Friends on repeat – laundry – eat – nap – work (may be?) – Facebook – enjoy the benefits of work-life-balance

(a.k.a. the dreamer’s conception of work-life-balance) (at which I usually gurgle and point out that life becomes work and work becomes life – interpret that as you will)

(sidenote: they are the ones who are most disappointed to learn that I have a normal routine like everybody else)

To most of family:

Free, in general. Might on occasion be indulging in some abstract notion of “work”, mostly just as a hobby or for fun.

(a.k.a. it’s ok to treat my weekdays like a weekend or public holiday) (I normally have to remind them that the operative part of “work from home” is the work bit)

(sidenote: completely unaware of the digital economy)

To my friends:

Whatsapp – work – Instagram – work – whatsapp – whatsapp – whatsapp

(sidenote: due to the alarming speed at which I read and respond to whatsapp messages) (this may be hotly contested by some, but true for most)

To my mom:

Work – not put enough thought into my meals – eat – work – work – work

Separately, not to be disturbed M-F 8 am – 5 pm (but I can call her whenever I want)

To my sister:

Soul sister and is painfully aware of what my day is actually like because of the unsolicited and unnecessary details I incessantly share with her (also, she is a work from home creative too – and so she’s clued in on this little world)

To my husband:

wake up – go back to sleep – wake up again – eat breakfast – laze – not change out of pajamas – emails – work – work – work – enquire about his ETA – be found in pajamas (does not notice if they are different from the morning pajamas)

(a.k.a. pajama + productivity central with a little bit of procrastination)

(sidenote 2: most days he refuses to believe that I change out of pajamas and into proper clothes, and change back into pajamas before he’s home) (which is the truth. most days) (ok, some days)