We’re at that time of year many of us find hectic and demanding. Then we flow right into the new year and feel pressure (external or internal) to make resolutions and changes. All of this can harm you, for real. It can also beat your creative energies into submission so deep you won’t see them until April. What’s a creative writer to do?
If you can follow advice such as slow down, take everything one minute at a time, breathe and make mindful choices, go ahead, maybe all you need is a reminder to do those things. But what about the rest of us? I’m no therapist, but I’ve found a few concrete things that work for me.
First, I keep to my health routine. Sure I eat more than I should during the holidays, but I don’t eat everything that looks good. I pick the things I enjoy the most. If I overdo so much I feel guilty, then my creative energy suffers. I exercise according to my normal schedule. Those endorphins feed creativity.
That Mindfulness Thing
A lot goes into living a mindful life, but the element I try to stick to is being single-minded in purpose and task. We can’t do everything. Multi-tasking is a proven a fallacy. It’s time-slicing. Think about that. We only have so much time, and when we think we’re multitasking, we’re just dividing that limited time into smaller and smaller chunks. Concentration goes up the chimney. One task, one focus. I get more tasks done and they are better quality. I do this all the time, but the end of the year and start of a new one invite disruption and I have to guard actively against it.
As I’ve written before, reading fires creative synapses as well or better than anything else. Make time to read. Retreat to your favorite spot and enjoy a good book, story, or collection of poems. I can’t read more than a paragraph without ideas flowing.
Finally, if you have a creative work routine, keep it. I may not work as many hours, and I might skip a day or two, but generally, I keep writing. I do it not because I’m working toward a deadline (though I have deadlines) but because I love writing. Writing is my creative release AND my creative regeneration. Writing today makes me want to write tomorrow.
Enjoy the season. Allow it to rebuild and restore your creative self. Don’t let it dictate your actions and knock you down.
How do you keep your creative writing life active and energized through the holiday season?