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Dear Charlotte, you need to take charge of your own creativity

Right now. Do it. Take charge of your creativity. I don’t care whether you’re a painter, a writer, a photographer or a magician. Creativity is not some free-flowing magical river that never gets stopped up. It takes work.

Tips for taking charge:

(1) Set a deadline

Life moves fast and this day is going to be over before you know it. Vow to yourself you will complete your project or a certain part of it before your friend’s 7:30 p.m. birthday dinner. Or before you’re allowed to have your next cup of coffee. Or during that hour and a half between teaching yoga and taking yoga.

Choose your time frame. Write it in blood (or, just, ink) in your little paper planner.

(2) Pick your poison

It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day. It might be one generous pour of Malbec from NoDa Company Store to sip on and mellow you out while you ponder and throw yourself into your work. It might be two steaming cups of coffee to jolt you into consciousness and get you moving. It could be as simple (and cheap) as taking your work outside and plopping down in a patch of sunlight in sight of the skyline to get it done — there’s good energy there.

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 (3) Make your craft a habit

Even if you just poke at a project for 10 minutes a day, this practice keeps the brain gates open. I try to blog or journal — incite some sort of creative thought dump — each day to keep writing a habit. The more I write, the more ideas I have. The more I write for myself, the easier it is to open a blank WordPress draft and jump right into writing a work piece. Work becomes a habit.

(4) Avoid social media

Not at all times. But definitely when your creativity is flowing. Nothing clogs it up like scrolling through social media posts and getting flooded with excessive sensory input.

(5) Shake up your day

The monotony of your routine just won’t do. Work out at 6 a.m. and see what happens, how this changes your approach to the whole day spreading ahead of you. Go for a random 10-minute walk on your coffee break (I’m a Rail Trail fan), see what comes to mind, what you notice, where that takes you.

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Say “yes” to that lunch with your friend that you suddenly feel you have no time for. They just might say something unexpected that inspires you.

Do what it takes. Make a change. The creativity is coming.

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