I work in a creative environment. I’m surrounded by many of the best authors in the country. I get to meet some of the most creative minds in the world. And yet, for the past couple of years, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a creative drought on a personal level.
I didn’t even notice it happening. Slowly, bit by bit, my creative mojo started to seep away. And that can happen when you let life take over. When you’re responsible for a business. When you have an obligation to a team of staff and countless customers. There are spreadsheets, cashflow projections, tax issues, scheduling, negotiations, websites to build, deals to be done and speeches to be made.
All important things. And, sure, some of them are creative – if you use the word kind of loosely.
Exploring creativity that feeds your soul
But I’m talking about the exploration of creativity and expression that feeds your soul. An appreciation of art and genius and play – and the way they all combine to create a magical personal journey that can transform and inspire yourself … and other people.
That kind of soul-feeding creativity is different for everyone. For you it might be music. For another it could be painting. For someone else, it’s writing. For even others, it could be business. It’s the thing that you’re curious about. That creative itch you need to scratch. The thing that makes you smile when you’re discovering more about it.
For the past couple of years, I couldn’t even articulate to you what that thing was for me. Because my creative cupboard was so bare that I’d forgotten how to tap into it.
I know this sound totally weird coming from someone who is the head of one of the most creative organisations in the country – where I’m surrounded by creative minds at all levels, from newbie students to the most experienced and acclaimed writers in Australia.
But, like I said, spreadsheets, projections, websites … you get the idea.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that if you love spreadsheet and projections that automatically means you’re in a creative desert too. Not at all. Remember, everyone is different. Your passion is totally different to mine.
An insane schedule
I had somehow allowed myself to get to a stage where I just worked. All. The. Time. I reckon I probably ran a two-year marathon between 2014 and 2015 where I was so focused that work became my entire life. And I loved it. I really did. I wasn’t unhappy. In fact, I revelled in it. It wasn’t just satisfying, it was a bona fide adrenaline rush to get so much stuff done. And, while I was in it, I didn’t begrudge it one bit. Pig in mud.
My business was on track. I was speaking at events around the country. I was travelling, meeting people, and sharing my passion for business and writing with many others.
Then one day I realised that in 2015, with the exception of work-related events, I had gone out for dinner four times that entire year. That’s not a typo. Four times. And three of them were to the same place! Insane.
And I realised that I hadn’t gone boxing (my idea of the perfect form of stress relief) in what felt like forever. And, worst of all, I felt like I had lost my creative mojo. Which is not ideal when you’re a writer. (Or in any profession for that matter.)
At no point did I blame my work for this. Because it wasn’t the fault of my business that this happened. The blame lies entirely with me for letting my creative mojo slip away. For letting play time slip away.
Time for a change
Towards the end of 2016, I knew that I had to make a change; that I had to schedule in bouts of creativity and fun. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still work like a demon when I need to. It just means that I’m remembering to allow myself to explore my creative curiosity.
What does this look like?
- I recently met an artist whose work I admire. So I asked him to mentor me.
- I live by the beach and yet spend hardly any time at it. So I asked my pal Nick, who happens to a world champion level body boarder, to give me lessons. And now I’ve been to the beach more times in the last week than I have in the last 10 years.
- I saw the work of another amazing artist and we’re meeting up next week for a one-on-one lesson.
- I finally organised for my piano, which has been stored at my grandmother’s house for years, to be moved to mine.
Of course, the irony is that I give this advice all the time when it comes to exploring the world of writing. Because I just KNOW that if you’re not part of the world of writing, and you want to explore it, there is nothing better than to give yourself permission to be enter that world – to satisfy your curiosity. Because it’s great for your soul.
I’d just forgotten to take my own advice in my own creative journey.
I had to remind myself that this advice works. And you know what? It really does.
I’m more fulfilled. More energised. More inspired.
And I can really feel that creative mojo coming right back.