Keeping Your Creative Health
There's a line in the movie Princess Bride where Count Roogan says: "If you haven't got your health you haven't got anything." I've lived by that credo since I 2005 when I started competing in fitness shows. Since then it's become the corner stone to everything else I do and this is where the focus for creative health came from.
Creative health is a focus on nurturing the tools that fuel your dreams through fitness and informed thought. This means keeping your mind, body, and spirit working at optimal levels in what I like to call a "cynergy."
The work we do as writers can be exhausting. Hours in a chair behind a keyboard whether for writing or marketing has the potential to burn us out both physically and mentally.
People will recharge their phones all the time but they won't recharge themselves.
Here's how to refill your creative cup so you can continue to work on your creative craft.
EXERCISE I never put much emphasis on exercise until I started doing fitness competitions a few years back. Since then I've realized the benefit that comes from pushing yourself physically. There's so much more that comes from a training session than aesthetic results. When done with the right intensity you will find yourself in a zone of focus. The mind-body connection becomes apparently clear as you lean into your mind to compel your body to continue past the challenge its facing. Workouts also bring a sense of clarity where the difficulties your facing fade for a moment and in that moment you can see the problem you're facing clearer. The rejuvenation exercise brings will also amp and energize you the next time you sit down to a writing session. An endorphin rush coming from a vigorous workout is like a shot in the arm. And finally, once you overcome the challenge stacked in front of you be it weights, running, or a spin class your confidence will be renewed and you can face that blank manuscript armed with the knowledge that you can overcome.
JOURNALING We have so many thoughts running through our minds it often becomes difficult to gather them all. The one way to bring a bit more balance to these wild things is to journal. As writers we are bombarded by voices that aren't even our own at times. Our characters often demand attention and as much as we love them they can interfere with the process. Or, on the flip side, our daily lives can contribute to muffling those voices to the point where we can't paint the picture of the story because it isn't clear to us. When this happens grab a journal. Writing in a journal is much different than writing a novel. The words aren't coming from the creative part of your brain which takes a much more concentrated effort to focus on. Journaling is simply getting those thoughts that are running around in your mind on paper to make sense of them all. It's a liberating feeling and often when you're in this free flow of words is when you'll get a spark of an idea to move you forwards.
MEDITATION Meditation takes some practice but there are guided meditations that will walk you through what you need to do in order to tap into that deep source of energy within you. This is creative health at its finest. When you quiet your mind and your body your spirit speaks to you. These quiet whispers are hard to discern when so much chaos is coming at us on a daily basis but in the quiet space of meditation the whispers show you the way.
GET OUTSIDE As writers we tend to stay cooped up inside sitting in front of a computer screen lost in our imaginary worlds. Writing in flow is great, don't get me wrong. But don't forget about the real world. You'd be surprised what a hike or bike ride out in nature can do to clear your mind and refill your energy. Stress melts away and patience returns to you as the path through the woods, by the stream, or through the desert calls to you to take your time and enjoy your surroundings. I remember hiking the red rock mountains in Nevada and I my mind started a dialogue on what my path in life was meant to be. Within those questions the answer came to me from a voice alternative to my own. It spoke silently the words: "you are right where you're meant to be." Whether it was my higher power or my subconscious the words brought me great comfort and clarity.
READ One of the best ways to get over writer's block is to read other people's work. This will trigger a response in your own mind to develop your own writing voice. For my other creatives and entrepreneurs who visit this blog I'll tell you that reading will motivate you in your ventures as well. Pick up an autobiography of someone you admire and read their story. I guarantee within those pages you'll find something relevant to your own struggles. Many of the personal development books (mine included) will also pose questions to you which when answered will cue the firing of neurons in your brain sort of like giving a car battery a jump start.
WATCH A MOVIE/TV SHOW The yang to the yin of writing is to watch a movie or television show ( not the news!). Watching something creatively stimulating will get your mind to thinking of your own creative project. I can't tell you how many ideas I've pulled from just a thread of a plot or quote from a TV show and integrated into something I'm working on. The same is true of watching biographies. There's people in this world who have done some extraordinary things. Hearing their stories motivates you in way which is empowering. You think "if they did it so can I."
There's so much more that comes with developing your creative health.
Whether you work at an office, work from home, or even if you’re stuck behind a wheel all day, these tips can help you keep your health and fitness on track. I’ll also discuss some nutrition tips to help you with overall wellness that will keep your body running at optimal levels.