Daily Creative Progress, Not Perfection

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As revolutionaries, we’ve all been brought to this space by our desire to imbue creativity into our work, our personal lives, our communities. Creativity is a muscle, SKR reminded us in Out of Our Minds that you “can’t be a creative thinker if you are not stimulating your mind, just as you can’t be an Olympic athlete if you don’t train regularly.”

One of the easiest and most digestible ways to exercise your creative brain is with a daily creative practice. This practice can be incredibly varied; writing, drawing, experimenting with a new hobby. But it is the commitment to a daily endeavor that makes it a practice. Cultivating a daily creative practice can also be useful professionally. It is powerful to hone new skills, create a positive mindset, and continue to inspire yourself.

While all of this is true, creating and maintaining a daily practice of any sort can be challenging. Here are nine suggestions that can support you in establishing and maintaining a practice in creativity:

1. Keep it simple

Getting started with the daily creative practice can be difficult if you over think it. Generate as many opportunities for yourself to be creative by setting up as few barriers as possible. Start with a manageable goal and work your way up from there.

2. Just show up

It’s easy to create unreasonable expectations of what a daily creative practice should look like. Check your expectations at the door, come to this practice with an open heart and mind, and be willing to evolve and change as you go.

3. Do one thing at a time

With so many options of what you can do daily, it is easy to get caught in decision paralysis or overload. Writing, painting, drawing and more; your choice of what to do can change, but start with one thing. You don’t need a full set of professional tools to begin, keeping it simple. The tools are not representative of the practice, your creativity is. Do not let the environment and settings you wish to set up for your practice be in opposition to the practice itself.

4. Same time, same place

Try allocating a specific time daily to your practice and placing your practice in a specific space. This obviously can change based on the work you are doing, but you want to avoid letting the “I’ll get to it” turn into “I’ll try again tomorrow”. Once you have set aside time and space in your day, honor it. Focus on reducing distractions and the decisions you need to make to jump into your creative practice.

5. Build a container

There’s almost no way to know when you’ve done “enough” on any given day. Before you begin set an expectation, a time limit, a word count, an agreement with yourself. The parameters are completely up to you but determining this in advance and building a container around your practice will make it feel more manageable on a daily basis.

6. Have fun

Often when it comes to work, fun feels forbidden. When you start to feel resistance or the urge to procrastinate around your practice, search around for your feelings of fun. Your creative practice might not be enjoyable every single day. But it is important to observe and identify those moments as opportunities to recommit to why you’ve chosen a creative practice to begin with. We often feel that in order to be successful at something it must be a struggle, but keep bringing it back to having fun. Lean into the ease of this experience. Follow your curiosity and see where it leads you.

7. Make it a game

Try setting up a challenge for yourself, 30 days, 90 days, a year. Do a little every day. Challenges can be helpful because it feels like you’re aiming for some kind of tangible goal. If you’re just beginning with a creative practice, be cautious about setting a huge challenge for yourself. Start with one week and build up from there. Use your creative practice as a way to connect with others. It might be helpful to find an accountability partner or a group to check in with.

8. No one is perfect

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. You are human which means you might skip days, drop the ball and maybe just forget. It’s not these mistakes that matter, but the decision what to do on the next day that counts. Not every day will be a masterpiece, remember it’s the showing up that matters. Having a regular creative practice is a balance between facing your own resistance as a fallible human and the desire to grow and change.

9. Support your practice

Find ways to support your practice in other areas of your life. Connect with fellow creatives and build your support network. Share what you are creating. Follow creative mentors. Share your progress.

If you feel called to establish a creative practice, listen to that little voice, and find a manageable and fulfilling way to begin the process. Share your experiences and ideas in the comments below.

What is something you’ve done to begin a creative practice?

What have your personal barriers been to cultivating a creative practice?

How often do you change the modality of your creative practice?

What do you do daily as a creative practice?

Check out the new course Life in Technicolor: Never a Grey Day, hosted by @Anthony for insight on how to live every day to the fullest.

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