How do we stay consistently inspired, creating and honing our craft and showing up for ourselves day after day?
On the weekend, I looked back at times within this blog, within my life, when stopping creating was more of a problem than the process of finding something to create. I read old posts and thought, “wow, how did I write that?” and also “, how did I write so much, so consistently, and with such passion?” And lastly, “how do I find my way back to that headspace?”
This morning I was listening to The Creative Penn Podcast. I’ve only just found this podcast and highly recommend it. The episode was an interview with best-selling indie author Beth Kempton. Beth’s ritual for early morning journalling triggered a memory.
A memory of how I used to write when I was posting nearly every day, as well as writing prolifically in other areas.
It begins with getting up early and writing while the house is quiet and before the day starts.
I had slipped out of that habit or instead replaced that habit with another one at the beginning of this year – that of exercise. Summer is a season of early sunrises and being able to get a lot done before 8 am, and with good reason, the day is scorching after this time.
But at the beginning of this year, as many of us do, I made getting fit and dropping some weight my priority. My writing took a backseat as the day’s first task, and therein lay the problem of my creative glue becoming unstuck.
I have a willy wagtail bird that sings while the sky is still dark. And they sing loudly. It is like a natural alarm clock for which I can’t find the “off” switch. I mumble—my husband mumbles. The magpie, which the willy wagtail has also waked, begins to warble, and beautiful as it all is, sleep cannot be persuaded to return.
I check my watch; it’s 4.04 am; I go into the kitchen and make coffee.
This morning, as has been my routine for most of the year, I had my coffee and was out the door as soon as I had some light to see by, walking my dog. I also tuned into the particular episode of the Creative Penn podcast, which inspired this post.
It’s funny how the universe sometimes delivers precisely what you need. We put a thought or a query out, and back comes the message so quickly that sometimes it is shocking.
The thought I had been tangling with was how to get back into a blogging routine that delivers me the same consistency and constant stream of inspiration that I had been able to access before. How did I find my way back to my best self and the person I enjoyed being the most?
I love writing and blogging. It fills something in me as nothing else does. It’s medicinal. I like myself when I write and am at peace with the world. If that’s not successful, then I’m not sure what is.
But back to the podcast. Beth Kempton spoke about how that particular time, early in the morning, was not necessarily for writing on her latest book; instead, it was her time to sort of journal but with greater range. And then Beth went on to discuss “sparks”.
Perhaps, like me, your journalling can sometimes fall into the “whining” or just babbling to get things out of your head and dump them somewhere category. This leads to spiralling around and around the same topics, which doesn’t necessarily see you move forward in an inspired way; content creation, such as this blog post, relies upon coming up with new ideas we pluck from our surroundings.
It relies on sparks. A spark is such a lovely descriptive word for how we gain inspiration.
I can be sparked by a podcast, a person, a piece of poetry, a mural on a building wall, or anything. A spark is not a complete vision in itself; it is merely a, well, spark that ignites something within the mind of the creative and leads them to be taken by an idea that they can then fan the flames of in their mind and produce their unique creation.
If you haven’t found a spark naturally, you can actively seek places where your sparks generate.
Place yourself in beauty. Place yourself in places that inspire you, which is what I did on the weekend when I went away by myself to the coast. Be alone. That way, your spark has the best chance of igniting before being blown out by the distractions and needs of other people. Make your sparks your priority as a creator because we are lost without them. I read a great deal, and broadly, I listen to podcasts, again quite broadly and not just about writing or health. I found the Creative Penn podcast via a different podcast about intermittent fasting. Follow interests. Most of all, get up early, write your journal, and participate in the ritual before the rest of the world pours into your consciousness. If you haven’t got a noisy bird like I do, then perhaps an alarm will do the trick.
As Beth advises, don’t necessarily use this time to do the writerly work. Don’t use this time to write 2000 words on your manuscript or blog post. Or at least don’t do that first. Use it to open the channel from where all words emanate, where wisdom resides—the creative spark. And then have fun with it. Beth suggested that if you are stuck, find a sentence or a line of poetry you love. And write from there. I loved that idea.
Not all creators are writers; some are artists, bloggers in other genres, songwriters, or content creators of various other fields. It doesn’t matter what your passion is – writing will open the flow to connect you to wherever your inspiration arises.
Sometimes we must be reminded of our best practices to return to using them again. I hope this spark might light another in you: a journal entry, the “aha” moment, or a blog post. If not – there are plenty of others out there, but we have to be looking to see them.
We are all candles that come into contact with each other in various ways and light new flames, support other flames to grow stronger or reignite the candles of those that have blown out.
Have a fantastic day – keep burning X
Oh, and the podcast episode of which I spoke is here
Header Image: Courtesy Kristopher Roller Unsplash