Unlocking Your Creativity Takes Discipline
“As you move toward the dream, the dream moves toward you.” - Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”
Have you ever experienced a creative block?
Whether I’m painting, writing, or playing a new song on the guitar, I’ve always found peace and solace in the arts. But like most creative people, there have often been times where I simply can’t find the inspiration to put paint to paper, or pick to strings. As someone who values work-life harmony and building bliss in all spheres of my life, it can be particularly difficult when my creative outlets feel less accessible.
Cultivating creativity and mindful innovation
When you think about it, the process of doing your best work, starting and building a business, forming a customer base, and creating products and services that will resonate with people are creative acts. I’ve learned that these types of creative acts require a great deal of mindfulness to avoid hitting a block, just like in art or music. When seeking ways to innovate in business, It’s vital to think abstractly at times, and to discipline your mind and body while you’re at it.
As you may know, yoga is one of the practices I use to connect my body and mind. Beyond its physical benefits, yoga helps create the stillness I need to work harder and make more intentional decisions. It’s also a stress-reliever, it improves my concentration, and it clears my mind to allow a better flow of creativity.
To become a better innovator, I recommend finding a practice of your own that centers you and that you can incorporate into your daily routine and improve discipline. Whether its yoga, running, cycling, or simply journaling, discipline will foster creativity and allow you to become a better innovator for your life in general.
Learning from “The Artist’s Way”
In the 1992, “The Artist’s Way,” a self-help guide written by Julia Cameron was published to help artists tap into their creative side and maximize their creative output. The book quickly gained notoriety in the writing and art world, and would become one of the most famous programs of its kind.
The book details twelve stages in the form of chapters, to be read and followed one week at a time. Cameron believes that artistic ideas are divine, and that by ritualizing your daily habits, you could become more of a vessel for the creations meant to flow through you. Whether you believe your creative side comes from a higher power or not, Cameron’s steps are incredibly useful for people who need to add discipline to their lives and make space for creative work.
Using “morning pages,” a practice in which the creatively blocked wakes up and immediately writes a few pages every morning is one that Cameron recommends first. It is intended to clear and warm-up creative energy. Journaling, no matter what time of day you decide to do it, is a great way to be more mindful of your thoughts, and take stock of what distracts you and holds you back from what you really want to do.
Cameron also says in her book that “serious art is born from serious play” and encourages people in the program to take play seriously and to take one’s self for an “Artist Date” (by yourself) once a week to explore your interests and become inspired. Go for a walk, get lost, check out an art gallery, or venture into a new section of the library. The Artist Date is meant to excite your creative spirit. Among some of the other activities in the book, Cameron says to take care of your creative ideas. Nurture them as you would a plant or a pet, and make sure they have space to grow.
Work-life harmony is, in part, about making room in your life for your work to grow. In the business world, we might not always be looking for divine inspiration for our daily work, but I think there’s a lot to be said for discipline, practice, and clarity when it comes to fostering our capacity to innovate. As with most areas of our lives, discipline and intention can go a long way with the right determination.
How will you unlock your creativity?