Episode 6 - Your Creative Energy
Beth: Welcome, my creative friend, to another episode of BDI Create Today. Today we are going to look at your creativity by peering into its fuel tank. Now, you know, I love my metaphors, and I'm not afraid of mixing my verbal media to illustrate a story. So, spoiler alert, this episode is going to be filled with metaphors about things I love.
that charge things. Now, during this episode, we're going to chat about a topic that is crucial for nurturing your creative spirit. And that is knowing the quantity of and taking care of your energy. Now, not long ago, I listened to an interview with the incredible musician, Yo Yo Ma. He talked about his experiences growing up as an incredibly talented musician.
He shared a lot of wisdom [00:01:00] about music and practice and having discipline as a musician. But there was one thing he shared about his talent and his creativity that really resonated with me. And I thought, Oh, wow, that's a bit of gold advice that applies to absolutely every person on the planet.
Now, we've already discovered that every person on this planet has creativity and we've discussed how creativity appears in a myriad of ways that doesn't always present itself as art or music or writing a great novel. Often our creativity is found through a hobby that fills us with joy.
Remember I shared that my husband Tom, his creative passion is building things like bikes. And my daughter Cori, her creative passion is cooking and baking. Creativity and passion can also bubble up through how a person solves problems in a clever way or how they think of innovative [00:02:00] ways to complete a project that involves, you know, thinking outside the box.
I want to back up just a second and think about this word passion for a moment. The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives passion several definitions, like intense, driving, and over mastering feeling or conviction.
And here's another one, a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity. object, or concept. And then I also found in the dictionary something else that was intriguing and that was the synonyms that the dictionary gave to accompany the definition for the word passion. So here are two of the synonyms that I found really interesting, and they were enthusiasm and zeal. Both of these words include intense emotion or compelling action. So, the dictionary [00:03:00] says this of passion. It applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring. And it says this of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm refers to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, a cause, or an activity.
And zeal, that implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause.
So here's what I want to share about these words. Passion, enthusiasm, zeal, all these words need energy to fuel the activity. You can't be passionate or enthusiastic or have zeal about anything. If you're tired. So my friend, having a creative passion is going to require energy.
And here comes a metaphor. Having a passion, I want you to think of it as having a car. We know that a car only runs when there is energy [00:04:00] in the tank. That could be gas or these days, electricity, right? And you would not go on a long trip with your car without knowing where to find gas or charging stations because gas and electricity that fuel your car, that is finite.
And you can use it up while the engine is running. And the faster the engine goes, the quicker you use up the fuel. You have to know when and where to refuel during your trip.
Now, think of your creative passion as your car and you need energy to fuel your passion. If you drive this metaphorical car without refueling on a regular basis, you will find you have a pile of steel in car parts that is just stalled. On the side of the road without fuel, it will not move. And here's what Yo Yo Ma said that I found so fascinating.
He said, talent or [00:05:00] creativity is infinite. There's no end to it, but energy is finite. So basically, you can be the most talented and creative musician in the world. But if your energy runs low, your talent and creativity is going to stop .
And Yo Yo Ma shared this firsthand about how low energy affected him when he brought home a newborn baby. He tried to be all things to all people. He wanted to be the best dad and be there for all the firsts that babies bring to a new family.
And he tried to keep the busy performance schedule that he was used to. He didn't want to disappoint anyone. Now, if you've had the experience of bringing home that first newborn baby, you know. That a newborn can bring the strongest human to their knees through lack of sleep and overwhelm [00:06:00] of new responsibilities.
And I'm happy to say Yo Yo Ma is just as human as the rest of us. And he soon realized that his engine was running at top speed for long distances with no stops to refuel. And this is what he meant when he said, creativity is infinite. But energy is finite. When you run out of energy, you run out of creativity.
It's Like a stalled car on the road, it's still there, but you cannot use it. And when you are trying to be creative with an empty energy tank, you burn out. So my question for you today is, do you know the size of your creative fuel tank? Do you know where and how to find charging stations to refuel? Now cars All have different sizes of fuel tanks and their engines all [00:07:00] use energy at different miles per gallon.
So when you buy a car, you soon are very knowledgeable about how much gas you need to fill the tank and how many miles you can travel before you need to refuel. Just like cars, we're all very different. So there is not a one size fits all response to the question. Do you know the size of your creative fuel tank?
So let's chat about options. My hope is that you can hold up these options to yourself, like you would a cute sweater at your favorite boutique and decide what's going to fit you best. Hopefully talking about energy and creativity together will help you determine if you are. possibly creatively running on empty, or if you need to figure out where, when, and how to refuel your creativity.
Or if you're [00:08:00] one of those lucky creatives whose tank just seems to never quite ever get low, I want you to become aware that your energy is precious and that you need to use it wisely, and that. Even you, my friend, who feels like the Energizer Bunny who never runs out of energy, you need to be aware of the size of your creative tank.
So when it's time to refuel, and my friend, it's going to happen, you won't be taken by surprise. Now, refueling our creativity is the process of replenishing and revitalizing both the mental and emotional energy required for imaginative thinking, and Problem solving and artistic expression.
So much like refueling a car to keep it running, refueling our creativity involves taking intentional actions to restore and renew our creative [00:09:00] reserves. And when I say intentional. That's like purposely driving to the gas station to fill your tank. It's not something that you really want to take time for while you're on an amazing adventure driving to someplace cool.
And I think it's the rare person who loves to go to the gas station to fill up. Yay. But everyone knows that running out of gas is a freaking nightmare. So you go to the gas station, right? I hate going to the gas station. Refueling your energy is essential. Because creativity is not an endless resource and without periodic refueling, we may experience burnout or creative block.
This happened to me when I was working as a creative director at a product design company. I had a long commute. I had long hours each day. I worked through lunch. I often worked a bit on the weekends. I did not take advantage of vacations. And during [00:10:00] the weekends, I was scurrying about trying to get the house ready so I could let it coast a bit when Monday rolled around again.
Now I tried very hard not to notice that my creative fuel tank was getting very low, dangerously low. And because I ignored all the warning signs of an empty tank, one day I found myself virtually stalled on the side of the road.
Creative burnout is not pretty. And the damage it does to your creative engine takes time to fix and polish up again. So let's talk about how to be kind to your creative car and how to get smart about refueling your creative energy. What is it? And how and when should we fill up that tank?
Now, most cars, as you know, give you warning when you're getting low on fuel. My car has a pinging noise and it [00:11:00] gives me warnings about how many more miles I can drive before the tank will be empty.
This is what we need to be aware of about our own creative tanks. Do you know your warning signs when your tank is getting low? Everyone will be a little bit different here, so you need to be able to be a little introspective and take stock of your fuel take. And you need to be aware of the difference between low energy and procrastination trying to mask itself.
As a low tank, but seriously, be mindful of how perky you're feeling. Are you feeling sleepy? Is your brain feeling focused or hazy? When was the last time you walked about or even stood up from your chair? Are you drinking enough? I personally am horrible about getting enough water when I am really busy and in the zone.
And then, my friend, in extreme [00:12:00] cases, Please check your emotional state. Are you feeling teary? Are you irritable? Is your inner critic spewing hateful things at you? If your creative moments are feeling dreary and overwhelming, oh, you need to rest ASAP. You don't want to push yourself to the very limit of emptiness.
This can damage your creative engine and we do not want that. Now, last year, Tom and I did a driving vacation to Arizona in hopes of finding better weather for a moment or two during our long Chicago winter. Now, we had stopped for an overnight visit with my cousin who lives in Northeast Kansas. And the next day, we drove straight west through the rest of the state.
The western side of Kansas, my friend, is not littered with exits that take you to a gas station every 10 miles. [00:13:00] In fact, through a lot of our driving vacation, we rarely let our tank go below the halfway mark because we weren't sure if we were going to go into a stretch where the next gas station might be a hundred miles away or more.
So when you know you will be doing a super long stretch of creativity and I'm looking at all my creative professionals here, when you dig deep to meet a deadline, that is like driving through Western Kansas. I want you to enjoy the journey to your exciting destination, but my friend, be mindful of when you need to replenish your energy.
The act of filling up your creative fuel tank can be accomplished in many ways. And you know I love lists. So here's a list of refueling suggestions. Number one. This is obvious. Take breaks. But, here's the non obvious part. This [00:14:00] begins with allowing yourself to take a break. Give yourself permission to take a break.
This sounds so simple, but I am here to tell you, when I get in the zone, it's super easy to realize that I haven't even stood up for three hours. I can quickly fall into my old habit of pushing too hard. So take my advice and take a break. Whether it's short or extended, breaks provide a chance for our minds to rest, exhale, and rejuvenate.
Stepping away from creative tasks for even a short time can prevent mental fatigue and it can help you get a fresh perspective on what you're working on when you return to your creativity. How many times have you been wrestling with something creative and the answer is just not coming? And then finally you walk away and when you return after a walk or a good night's sleep, The answer is staring [00:15:00] you in the face.
My hand is raised here. This happens to me a lot, but I forget this when I'm deep in the weeds. I often think I don't have time to take a walk or exercise or eat lunch at the table. I just need to power through to concentrate a little more and the answer will come when actually the answer is just walk away, Beth, take a break.
Number two is engage in diverse activities. Refueling creativity often involves engaging ourselves in a variety of experiences. So try new activities, explore different perspectives, or learn a new skill. All these things can introduce novel stimuli to your brain. That will spark creativity and encourage some new ideas.
Sometimes when you expand your knowledge by learning something new, this refuels your creativity, like a tidal wave flowing into an empty dam. What was [00:16:00] once dry is now flowing deep and wide. Just last night I had dinner with a dear friend, she's my roommate from college, and she and I are both creatives, but most of the stuff we do is, uh, 2D, you know, we do a lot of, digital work, and We thought, wouldn't it be fun if we took a ceramics class together?
And I think that working 3d with ceramics is just going to really open up some fresh thoughts about how I go about preparing my art in 2d fashion. So I will keep you posted.
Number three, cultivate in yourself a positive mindset.
We've talked about this in many episodes. Having a positive and open mindset is crucial for maintaining your creative energy. Engaging in activities that promote mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, maybe a massage can [00:17:00] contribute to more positivity. Having a glass that is half full Well, that's a positive mind that is focused on the good events of life.
Having a glass that is half empty will leave you believing that you need more. And that enormity of feeling like there's never enough, that can drain you of your creative energy, like having a hole in a bucket. It doesn't matter how much water you add to the bucket, it will never fill up. It will never be enough.
Negative thoughts are sharp things that will puncture your fuel tank anytime they have access. And my friend, it is often very hard to successfully repair a hole caused by a puncture.
So keeping your thoughts focused on what's going right instead of what is wrong will keep your energy from being drained. and wasted.[00:18:00]
Number four, seek inspiration. Actively seeking inspiration from various resources such as art, literature, nature, or music can refuel our creative reservoir. Inspiration acts as a catalyst for cultivating fresh ideas and perspectives. It's like having a generator that is constantly creating and adding new energy to your tank.
And it doesn't even feel like you've paused to refuel.
Number five, connect with others. Finding a community through collaboration and social interaction, like the Create Today community, can be a powerful way to refuel. your creativity. Engaging with fellow creatives, sharing ideas, and receiving constructive feedback and encouragement can invigorate the creative process.
Again, this is like having a free source that collects [00:19:00] energy without effort, kind of like a solar panel, or collecting water in a rain barrel to water a garden.
Number set boundaries. Setting boundaries helps to prevent overworking and ensures a healthy balance between your creative passion and your life.
Now, this is a crucial aspect for long term and productive creativity. Understanding your own boundaries is a very personal matter. So again, this is something that you're going to have to sit and think about on your own and figure out what works for you. You will need to take a hard look at yourself.
How do you work? How do others see and appreciate your creative interests? And then determine the best way to invigorate and stay energized with your creativity by figuring out these boundaries. This involves [00:20:00] knowing when you need to stop your creative work, right? You need to know when to stop. Those are those breaks.
And this also includes sheltering your energy from negativity. Now this negativity can be coming from your very own inner critic, or it can be coming from others around you. Do you know who those people might be? And is there a way you can set boundaries that are kind to you and considerate of them. Having creative passion and life balance is important for nurturing your creativity in heart, mind, body, and soul.
Now let's see what we've discovered today. Creative passions require energy. Creativity is infinite. But energy is finite, and without energy, our creativity is just a beautiful car stalled on the side of the proverbial highway.[00:21:00]
Now, can you answer today's question? Do you know the size of your creative fuel tank? Do you know where and how to find charging stations to refuel?
And I want you to take a moment for that bit of self care and determine whether your tank is small or large, and then does your creative engine have a lot of miles per gallon? Knowing this will help you understand how often you need to refuel your creative tank.
Remember, being aware of your creative energy is not a luxury. It's a necessity for sustained creativity, and it's a commitment to your creative passion and your wellbeing. As you continue on your creative journey, consider your energy as a precious resource that should never be wasted, a resource that deserves care and attention.
Consider which ideas from our list [00:22:00] will refuel your creative energy, whether it's taking mindful breaks, exploring new avenues of inspiration, or connecting with a vibrant community of fellow creatives. You're not just refueling your artistic passion, but you're keeping the very engine of your creativity strong and powerful.
So my friend, let the process of refueling your energy be a time to pause and replenish during your creative journey. Remember while creativity is infinite. Your energy is finite, so don't waste your creativity by letting your energy run on empty. Be kind to yourself and keep your creative engine running smooth and strong.
Until next time, stay inspired and continue to unleash the limitless potential that you'll discover [00:23:00] inside your creative spirit. As always. Stay creative, my friend.
Welcome to the BDI Create Today podcast. This is a podcast where we'll uncover and discover the who, what, where, when, why, and how you can be creative or have more creativity and together. We'll explore the extraordinary impact creativity can have in your life [00:24:00] in heart, mind, body, and soul.
And if we haven't met yet, I'm Beth Buffington, a licensed artist, digital illustration instructor, and a creative coach living just outside of the windy city, Chicago, Illinois. But mostly, I'm someone who is curious about how creativity can weave its way into nearly everything in our lives. Each week, we are going to look at one or more of the sparkly facets that make up the ever changing kaleidoscope that is creativity.
Now let's pause for a moment for a word from our sponsor. And hey, that sponsor would be me. Are you looking for something new to learn? Something to experiment your [00:25:00] creativity with? Come and join the fun we are having this month in January with the Create Today team. First, you're invited to come to one of my free Procreate workshops.
They start on January 22nd. and run through January 29th. The workshops introduce you to drawing and painting with Procreate on your iPad. This year we're going to be creating some delicious donuts or cupcakes and it's a great way to enjoy a snack without any calories. Now there's a workshop date that will be perfect for you.
So come and create with me. It's fun, it's easy, and it's free. And then my friend, if you're ready to deepen your skills as an artist, join me for my in depth exploration of digital art with the winter class of my online course, Learn the Art of Procreate. This course will teach you everything you need to know to create [00:26:00] your unique art.
On your iPad and you can do this. You will learn at your own pace and my friend, I will be there to cheer you on. You will also discover how to get your art onto products, how to decorate your house with your products or give as gifts, or make some money. Ready to discover more about your creativity?
Hop onto to my email list. Go to www.bdicreate.today and get on the list. Just go to www dot bdi dash create dot TDY
Oh! Here's one more note from me. You're a sponsor. Are you interested in exploring your creativity with Procreate on your iPad?
Get my free Kickstart video. It gives you a beautiful tour of how to use Procreate to create [00:27:00] your own art. You'll get information about brush libraries, layers and layer options, explanations of the tool icons, and so much more. Go to www. bdi create. today forward slash kickstart to get my free kickstart video.