As someone who is a creative, I make a ton of things on any given day: social media posts, email campaigns, website content, and lots of photos.
That is a lot of creative output.
I have days where I burn out and my body and brain say, “Not today, bitch.”
You know about the output. There are a gazillion articles on the Internet about the output. That’s the writing part of it. The output is taking the ideas in your head and turning them into something. It’s like a tank that you fill with fuel and use it to power your work.
Output requires creative energy, resources, and ideas. Those ideas don’t just come from nothing. They require fuel, and if you’re not filling up your creative tank, then you’ll run on empty. They come from creative input.
More importantly, creative input gives your work value, depth, and humanity. It gives you something to be excited and passionate about.
Creative input keeps you from burning out and your creative tank full. Creative input keeps you productive and happy.
You can work creative input into my routine in 3 important ways:
Reading (obvi). Every night right before bed. Depending on how tired I am this can last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. No matter how much time I give it, this is my nightly ritual. It’s a way of resting and fueling my tank after a long day of work.
While I’m a huge advocate for personal development, those books don’t count for filling the tank. This is the time for fiction and nonfiction. Fiction tells you a story while using language in a creative way. Nonfiction teaches you something new (see below). Both of them teach you about human nature. Personal development is like filling your car’s gas tank with sugar. It’s the wrong type of fuel.
Read novels, mysteries, biographies. Read from the bestseller lists or a choose a random book from the shelf at the library.
Traveling. For a day, a weekend, or a week. It can be an overnight excursion, camping in the woods, or driving into the city for a day of great food and good bookstores. It can be a visit to your favorite part of the country, even if you’ve traveled there dozens of times already. What matters is that you get out of your familiar environment and immerse yourself in the unfamiliar.
Learn/Try something new. Try kayaking. Learn about the moons of Jupiter. Learn about ancient Chinese civilization or how to fly a drone. Learn about something or try a new experience that makes you step so far outside of your comfort zone that you don’t even recognize it.
Don’t be stingy with this time. You never know how something in the tank can be used to help you.
Photo by Rene Böhmer on Unsplash