Zen Living: 6 Ways to Live a Creative Life

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Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”. Sometimes “being creative” sounds like a task or chore, like the dishes or laundry. Sometimes artistic expression and life itself feel like they are at odds with each other. We juggle work, life, relationships, hobbies; and often our pursuit of a creative life gets shoved aside. The trick is to make creativity part of your daily life. Like Picasso said, kids are all artists. They make art every day and they don’t judge their work. They are just naturally creative. But so are you. Here’s how to rekindle that creative side and keep the proverbial fire stoked.

  1. Find your own space. Virginia Woolf famously said that in order to create, a woman must have money and a room of one’s own. Although times have changed and women are not in the same struggle of patriarchy as Virginia was, the idea still holds water. Having personal freedom is necessary in order to live a creative life. You need a place where it feels safe to create, a place of your own. Whether you convert your basement into a studio, or use a public park or garden – make the place yours. Choose a place that is inspiring to you. Some people find nature inspiring, others find a desk in a quite place is all they need. Finding your own space can be as simple as having a notebook or sketchbook where you can safely put down your thoughts and ideas. Daily.
  2. Say NO more often. A lot of us would have plenty of time to nurture our creative side if we simply stop saying yes to every event and favor that comes our way. It isn’t your job to make sure the rest of the world is happy. It is your job to make sure YOU are happy. The rest will flow from there. Start making time for yourself by saying no to invitations and projects that don’t interest you. Say NO to feeling guilty or disappointing others. Find your way back to making time for the one person in the world who your time will truly benefit: Yourself.
  3. Create ritual or routine. I write and/or draw every day. Sometimes I do both. I also read (a book) every day. Take joy in the doing and start to focus less on the finished product. While getting mounds of adoration for a finished project might feel great, the idea is to make the process of creativity part of your daily life. Focus on the doing. Focus on the moment. How do you feel when you are painting? How does it make you feel when you start writing a new chapter? Good right? You can have that feeling every single day if you just give yourself the time and space to do it.
  4. Be bold. Living a creative life is all about taking risks and seeing what happens. New thoughts or ideas can be intimidating, but don’t run scared. Dive in head first and see what happens. The worst you will do is make a mistake. The best you will do is create something new. Your new creation might not be perfect, but it isn’t supposed to be. Chasing perfection is the opposite of being bold. Draw something that scares you. Write a poem. Taking creative risks is the key to unlocking new territory. Your creativity will mature and grow as you evolve into the artist you were meant to be.
  5. Have fun! Creating is supposed to be fun. If it isn’t, then maybe you are doing it wrong. Do only what appeals to you and don’t bother with what doesn’t. There are no rules, no right way of being creative -it should be fun – whatever it is. Don’t let your inner editor inside your creative space. There is a time and place for editing, but that place is not your safe place. Let your guard down, have fun, and create. Nobody will see it, taste it, read it – unless you invite them to do so. The only person judging you is you.
  6. Understand Balance. Our modern world encourages multiplicity rather than simplicity. Each day we are offered opportunities to do more, see more, and try new things. You must evaluate your life and and find which areas you are willing to downsize in order to focus on your creativity. It sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I know I am not happy when I trade my creative time for other endeavors. When I go a few days without writing or drawing I begin to feel a nagging or tugging from deep inside. I know what that means. I don’t write to be read. I don’t draw or paint so that I may have my art reviewed. I do it because it keeps me sane, and it is part of my life. Creativity is as much a part of my daily life as breathing. My life is fuller and richer since I allowed myself the time and space to life a creative life.
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