Episode 9 of Wandering on the Creative Path

In this week’s episode, I talk about one thing we can do when we get stuck.

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A Dream Full of Creators

A few nights ago, I had an odd dream. I’ve sat on this a while, because in telling the dream, it will sound like a lot of name-dropping. But be that as it may, here it is.

I was living back in our house in McAlester (Oklahoma). The Sherwin Williams parking lot behind the house had been turned into a skate park. The gate was gone off of the fence around our backyard so people were lounging around and watching the skateboarders across the alley.

I opened the blinds on the living room window to check out what all the noise was. Casey Neistat had his camera sitting on the window ledge, doing part of his vlog in my backyard. Peter McKinnon just got there with his skateboard (I don’t remember if it was his boosted board or a regular skateboard – it’s been a few days since I had this dream.) Roberto Blake was there, but not skating. Some others were there, too, some skating, some not. I didn’t recognize all of them well enough to name them.

When I opened the blinds, Casey looked surprised then waved. The doorbell rang. It was a couple more people trying to get to the skate park. Instead of going around the block, they asked if they could just go through the house. I let them.

Someone invited me to go out to the skate park. I said, “I don’t know how to skate.”

They said, “It doesn’t matter. Just come hang out.”

So I did.

What does all this mean? My personal interpretation, with everything I have going on, is that I’m in a good place right now, creatively speaking. My YouTube channel may currently be suffering (that will be changing soon), but I’m in with good people and can learn a lot just by watching their videos and participating in the ongoing discussions.

Whether that’s what this would actually mean or not is kind of irrelevant at this point. I’ve never really been into dream interp, so that’s what I’m taking from it.

Is It Better to Work in Silence or With Background Noise?

There was a time that I would say it is better to work with some background noise. Hands-down. I thought I got more done and it felt kind of more like an office-with-coworkers environment. I typically had the TV on Food Network. It wasn’t ever up loud, but enough that I knew there was something going on.

Sometimes I would work with music and often found myself singing along. Obviously that wasn’t very conducive to getting anything done.

Then the cable company made some changes and we could no longer get cable through just the TV connection and had to have a box. When we moved here, I misplaced my box, so I was basically forced to work in silence. (I have since found the cable box but still have not yet hooked it up.)

I was surprised at how much more I got done. I was surprised to notice that my creativity had apparently been dulled by the background noise. I had effectively made it where I couldn’t hear myself.

That’s not a good position to be in.

I’m torn. I don’t know if I want to connect the cable box or not. I’m afraid it would mean reverting back to bad habits. (At the same time, though, I miss Food Network.) Now, the lack of TV does not mean I always work in silence. I’ve found Evan Carmichael on YouTube and his productivity music playlists. They’re mostly dance music with little-to-no lyrics. When I have a lot of stuff to do and I really don’t want to do it or I have a short time to work, I turn on one of those videos. (They’re about an hour and a half each.) One day, I got more done than I thought possible.

I don’t listen to the music a lot, but I have discovered it can be an effective tool for getting me in the mood/mindset to get things done.

What do you think? Do you work better in silence or with background noise?

I’m Not the Only One Talking about Consistency

Yesterday I mentioned prioritizing your creativity and how being consistent can help that. The day before, I mentioned how being consistent can be beneficial to increasing your creativity.

For some reason, I can’t let this go. In large part, it’s because I have had such issues with procrastination and inconsistency in the past. I wanted to reassure you, too, that I’m not the only one talking about consistency.

Earlier this year, Roberto Blake talked about the importance of consistency. This video is about being consistent on YouTube, but it’s good advice for other areas, too. It’s a recurring theme in many of his videos. I think his channel is an important one for creatives to subscribe to and watch frequently.

Another one talking about consistency is Tara Swiger. She did a podcast episode about eight months ago talking about consistency. She’s another one that I think is important to follow, particularly if you want to make your creative pursuits a business.

In all honesty, I could keep going. But both of these videos are good places to start and will take about 30 minutes to watch them both.

What are some of your favorite resources to encourage/promote consistency? Share them in the comments.

Fatigue and Creating

black and white photo of a porch light ona rock wallI have been talking a lot about making your creativity a priority and planning for it and so on. But…

Do you create when you’re tired? How?

That depends.

It depends on you and what you can handle.

And, to be honest, it will vary. There will be times when you can create while you’re exhausted and there will be times when you just can’t. There are times when I can create when I’m overly tired and times when I can’t.

Here’s the key: Listen to yourself.

You will know when you can keep going and when you need to rest. If you find yourself trying to write and you’re just watching the cursor blink, shut it down and get some sleep. If you keep making mistakes on basic knitting or crochet stitches/patterns, it’s time to put it down and take care of yourself.

Here’s the thing…

It might not even be physical fatigue that is interfering with your ability to create. It might be mental or emotional. It’s still an indicator that you MUST take care of yourself. Maybe even more than physical.

I can’t — and won’t try — to tell you how to take care of yourself. Everyone has somewhat different self-care methods. I like to get my nails done or just veg and watch TV or YouTube videos. If my issue is related to writing, I may knit or crochet or play with stamps or alcohol inks. I also like to have a cup of hot tea when the weather is chilly.

Your favorite ways might be different. Find out what they are. Remember them. Use them when you feel “off” or when you feel any kind of fatigue.

In the meantime, happy creating!

So You Want to Start a Bullet Journal

I could tell you and show you exactly how to start your own bullet journal, how to set it up, personalize it, ad find what works for you. And I will do that, but fist, I want you to see something.

Carrie Crista has a two-part series on YouTube about starting a ullet journal. She describes how to get started here. The second video talks about how to use collections, trackers, etc.

Regardless of if you follow her approach or the system described in the original bullet journal video by Ryder Carroll, you need to make it work for you. If that means you have a separate journal for work projects, so be it.

In a future post, I will talk specifically about what I have done and why. Meanwhile, set it up, learn what it is, and make it work for you.