For creatives, honing your craft is of cardinal importance. This can exist in many forms, and the day, place, medium and amount of time you spend thinking creatively don't ever really matter; often it's enough to simply start something. Yet one of the hurdles that we frequently have to overcome is finding the time to carve out a few minutes, or even a few hours, in which to work on improving those skills. Today I'm going to share with you a few ways you can do just that.
1. Use daily prompts For me, the daily habit of using prompts is one of the most successful ways to enhance my own writing. On occasion I will use these prompts to inspire another creative outlet - I might focus on photography if I feel so inspired, for example - but invariably it is the act of putting pen to paper that utilises these ideas. And when I say pen to paper, I'm not using a euphemism for keyboard and screen; to produce my best work it is imperative that my hand starts to ache after the first five minutes, that what I'm writing in is my favourite new piece of stationery, and that I'm not constantly distracted by the chaos of technology.
2. Keep a journal This is a habit I am currently trying to focus on. Contrary to what many might believe, journalling isn't just about writing about what's happened that day and documenting any key moments, it's much more than those limiting boundaries suggest. Snippets from magazines, quotations you love, drawings that encompass your mood at that precise moment; journalling can provide the medium for all of these and more. What creatives are so good at is expressing an emotion or juncture in time, and journalling provides an opportunity to amalgamate all of your creative inspirations onto one page. What's not to love?
3. Blog Not particularly surprising, I suppose, so I won't say too much on this matter. What blogging has taught me, though, is that if you try to write as someone you're not, you will never sustain it. Stick true to your style and the rest will follow.
4. Turn it into a habit If there's one sure fire way to ensure I follow through on a goal, it's to turn it into a habit. Simply adding it to my never-ending to-do list means I can easily prioritise something other over the practice of creativity, and it will slide down my daily agenda to sit with other menial tasks. However, setting aside a precise time means that I have created that opportunity before I can come up with something else to trump it. My time is early, usually 6.30am after I've finished getting ready for work. With a cup of rosehip tea, I wander into the morning light capturing photographs of the world awakening. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I just sit and think. By 6.50am the rest of the house stirs and that moment flits from time, but I've had my time, and the day moves on.
How do you find the time to be creative? Do you have any other tips?
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.