We live in a world full of distractions and craziness. Even out here in the country there is so much coming at us from our phones, tv shows, emails, friends, family, all of it and it really begins to wear on you. In the last few years I have learned that I am an introvert…not a hermit, but someone who needs to a break from people, at times. I value my time alone, music jamming, glass of wine, blank pages of notebook, and no one to disrupt my inner thoughts. During this time I won’t answer my phone and if you text me, forget it. Those moments sitting in that calm and quiet place are not just vital to my mental health but they are also vital to me doing my work well.
As an introvert these moments are easy for me to find compared to probably most people. I am more likely to be excited about staying in on a Friday night than I would be to go out till 2 AM at the bar with friends. Those that know me well know that when I don’t get these quiet moments alone I become a pretty awful person to be around. For instance I love going to conferences but at the same time they are also my worst nightmare. It typically takes me 2-3 days to fully recover from all the interaction. It is who I am and it may sound funny but I am thankful for this part of me. This introvertedness allows me the opportunity to explore the introspective parts of myself that I might otherwise miss.
For a long time I felt like such a weirdo for spending hours and hours with my feet dirty in the garden content with just the sound of the wind, bugs, and birds as I worked away. As I have grown older I have realized these moments an important part in my creative process. They help me develop ideas and mull over big decisions.
Although everyone is not an introvert, I do think it is important for any creative entrepreneur to find the calm and quiet within themselves. That deep silence is where we wrestle with new ideas and we can best hear our natural creative instincts speak. The world does a really good job of making us feel as if we have to run a sprint and if we are not sprinting or at least jogging toward greatness than we are not going to win the race. I have found this to be 100% untrue. We must take time to stop, slow down, be quiet, and listen to ourselves. If we don’t, we lose steam and never realize our potential. At least 25% of my day when I am awake is spent not working on some level. Yeah, I spent an hour watching Girls and then I slowly cooked dinner and enjoyed it on the porch with my favorite wine, does that mean I am falling behind? No, not in my book. The time in the garden weeding and harvesting and then making a fresh salad from what I brought in… a waste of time? No, some of the best ideas and clearest decisions I have ever made have been out in that garden.
Instead I think working is more like interval training (if we stick with the exercise analogy), you go really hard for a while and really work your ass off, then you take a break and find time to reflect and pull yourself back together. Creating is hard work, both emotionally and physically. Late nights, pulling new innovative ideas, and solving problems visually…it all takes its toll.
In a world where many are trying to place the creative entrepreneur in the same category as many other vocations, we do not hear often that it is okay to take care of ourselves and in fact it is the most important thing to what we do. We should be encouraged to find the moments to be quiet and to be introspective. If you are not taking these moments you might be feeling creative blocked, lost, or worrying if you are doing it all right. I have been there! It was a hard lesson to learn and a big leap of faith to think that time away could be the real clarity of inspiration you need. In fact those are the moments Mike and I develop our best ideas. This does not mean we sit there with a pen and paper and try to force the idea out, instead it is quite opposite. Sometimes it goes something like this, I could be in the shower after a work out and Mike could be shaving and I could be like “So I just thought of something…..” I try to rarely force things out of myself creatively and the more I relax and allow myself to engage with my natural creative instincts, even during busy times, the better my work turns out.
So if you haven’t been taking time to repair yourself, try and find some time this week to be quiet and calm. This may be a walk with the dog, a cup of tea on the back patio with a book, a nap in a hammock or sitting at your desk with the computer off and just a notebook for doodles while a record plays. Whatever gets you engaged with your instinctual creativity is what you need to do.
Happy Monday my friends I hope you begin to find a calm place and that it allows you the rest you need to be the best creative you can.