Writing as Creative Practice and Self Care

Writing as Creative Practice and Self Care

Do what you love, and love what you do. It doesn’t just apply to our workaday 9-5 gigs. Loving what we do and doing it with love can also apply to our hobbies and creative practices. I’d like to think that when I set aside time to practice being creative, it gives me room to process life, rest from the busyness, and allow my thoughts to wonder. I think writing is a creative practice and a way to engage in reflection and self care.

We live in a faster, do-it-better-now, instant, microwave kind of world. You want it; you can get it. Anytime, anywhere. Access, access, always-more-access. We have an abundance of access to knowledge and learning. The information superhighway is moving swiftly, but I’ve often wondered if all that access is detrimental. Are we so ensconced in information that we have little time to ponder the validity, importance, and practicality of all that is available to us? Do we take the time to marinate and chew on what we’ve got before digesting it? Or do we feed on the knowledge-fast economy like fast food leaving little room nourishing content that propels us forward into who and what we’re meant to be? I think about these things because I’m an information consumer like many of us are, but how often can I apply all that I’ve learned? I’ve taken on so much via e-learning webinars, workshops, worksheets, Facebook live, videos and all manner of info maker systems that I’ve inundated my human internal operating system. It’s crashed (immobilized, overwhelmed) from the weight of too much. I don’t think you or I were made to hold so much.

Real talk, I can’t keep what I don’t immediately apply. It gets lost in the shuffle of life or email never to be visited again. Have you been there too? I am taking steps to scale back my own information consumerism. It’s not them; it’s me. And since I’m responsible for managing me, I’ve taken to unsubscribing from lists, newsletters, and digital content that it is not necessary or that I fell for because of F.O.M.O. Let me be honest with you. Fear of Missing Out seems drives a spirit of scarcity, and I’ve fallen for it many times. I’m done. DONE! You hear me? So done! I have allowed myself to “miss” opportunities because I can no longer say yes to all the things with jeopardizing where I want my life to go. Saying “no” is okay. There is no scarcity but that which we create ourselves, and I no longer wish to ride that crazy train. What does this have to do with creative practice? Well, I’m glad you asked. You might have thought these previous paragraphs were squirrels running loose on my page, but they’re not.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Disengaging from mass consumerism is like giving myself permission to take stock of what I am and have on hand. It forces me to take a step back and reframe life. What do I already have that I can do something with? What is on hand waiting for my own innovation? It can’t happen if I am not taking the time to write, play, practice, journal my way out, dream, create, prototype, share, and revise or start again. Engaging in writing as a creative practice gives me another way to reflect and decide how to move forward. Since I’m a writer, splashing words across the page is one way I monitor, evaluate, and consider what I’m learning. Journaling is one practice I enjoy. While it’s more of a private event that I don’t post online, it’s still a creative venture because sometimes I will sketch, hand letter, and infrequently doodle my way through big ideas, questions, or problems. I do it for the process and to give myself time and space to be whole.

The act of writing with pen and paper is soothing and healing to me. I like to think of it as self care – a way to allow the soul to speak its heavy whispers in a way that typing on a keyboard cannot. I envision a release, a catharsis really, when I write. The words go down on the page from my heart, to my veins, through my blood, to my brain which then decodes my sighs and breaths into syllables, consonants, and vowels stringing them together into intelligible words woven into phrases which finally become comprehensible complete sentences. Yes, that is the body’s own creative process, and I’m choosing to partner with it rather than fight against it. But I’ve noticed I cannot work with my own creativity if i’m overstuffed on knowledge I do nothing with because the bloat blocks further growth. The bloat can make me lazy, demystified, and sedentary in the soul and in my purpose. What a loss that is! It’s the kind of heaviness that settles on you hindering you from healthy forward movement. Hence the need for internal pruning, and I do that by writing and then by making art when words won’t do.

Writing is a gateway to wonder and discovery. I can’t separate my writing from my creativity as they both inform one another, so I prune my informational intake. I’m getting picky about what I let in and even what I let out. It’s good self care for me to manage my usage of digital information overload. I will not be driven by F.O.M.O. but by my own internal motivation to empower, encourage, and equip. I measure everything against that desire. If it doesn’t serve my creative why, then I can take a pass. Learning to keep good boundaries around my yes emboldens me to bravely say no without regret, and that’s a great feeling.

I encourage you friends to pause, reflect, and reconsider your own information consumerism. How is it hindering or helping your creativity and ability to take good care of yourself? Consider writing about it and getting to your roots. Remember the only scarcity is that which you create or buy into. There is abundance for all of us. Where do you find it popping up with life? Tell me. I’d love to hear your stories.

In the month of October, I’m participating in the #Write31Days challenge. I’m focusing creative practice in the ordinary, everyday mundane. Each day (or whenever I write) for the series I will post the link on my page for my #31DaysOfCreativePractice. Come along and read.

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