Some may think spontaneity is the key to inspiration, but I believe you have to schedule creativity to get the muse to show up.

Schedule Creativity

Original photo bySTIL

When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time thinking that as an adult, I’d be living in some super boho industrial loft apartment where I wrote whenever the mood struck me. Since then, I’ve really redefined my creative process. (I also thought I’d be a New York Times Best Seller by the time I was 21, so I’ve redefined success as a writer too.)

Now, I’m more pragmatic. I know I can’t afford an industrial loft apartment as a writer, and have a day job that actually allows me to work on writing. I also know that consistency is key, and waiting around for inspiration to strike is not only a waste of time, it’s fundamentally toxic to the creative process.

As a writer, my writing only improves by writing. I can’t call myself a writer if I spend hours waiting around to feel like writing. I’m a writer because I write. And the more I get to know myself and my processes just by showing up every single day to write, the more I understand how important it is to schedule creativity.

I decided that I was going to harness my creativity rather than waiting for it to show up. Share on X

For some of you, this may seem impossible. And certainly a lot of artists may feel this way. But I decided that I was going to harness my creativity rather than waiting for it to show up. And I do this by scheduling my creativity.

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How to Schedule Creativity

001: Define your creative space.

For some, this may be the specific place where they choose to work. For others, it may be things they bring with them to turn their space into the creative environment they need. Because of the demands of my day job, I fall into the latter category. So, wherever my laptop and headphones are, that’s my creative space. But, if you’re the type that has a specific workspace that they prefer, then make it perfect for showing up every single day to do the creative work of your choice.

002: Set the creative conditions.

I know that I can’t get any writing done in loud places. That’s why I keep my headphones handy, and use sites like Ambient Mixer. Once I tune out the outside noises, then I can get some work done. If you’re trying to set the right conditions for getting work done, then I recommend taking a full-on atmosphere inventory. Sounds, sights, smells — whatever is distracting you needs to be eliminated so you can get down to business.

003: Show up at the same time every time.

Part of building a habit is creating the schedule. So, for writing and creativity to be a habit, I have to pick a specific time. For me, writing in the morning and mid afternoon are always the best times. So that’s when I make time to work. Obviously not every morning or mid afternoon produces brilliant work. But by consistently writing at those times, I know that I’m at least getting some work done and some practice on my writing.

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004: Work through the creative lulls.

But what about when you feel like garbage? What about when you have nothing new to say? What about when you feel so uninspired and blocked that you can’t even bring yourself to poorly imitate the work of someone else? Well, tough. Keep going. I know it totally sucks, but that’s the thing about creative professions. More often than not, they come with deadlines that don’t really care if you feel down or uninspired. So the only thing you can really do is keep working.

I do want to say that if you’re sick, you should obviously take some time off. Same goes for if you’re grieving or have big life stuff going on. But if you just feel a general sense of “meh?” Then you work through it.

How do you schedule creativity? Share on X

How Do You Schedule Creativity?

Are you the type that schedules your creative time? Do you only work when you feel inspired? What does your muse do when you don’t consistently show up?

2 Responses

  1. First of all, let me say congratulations on your wins at OWFI. Winning never gets old. 🙂

    Great list of tips here. Organizing and scheduling are two of my weakest traits. I seem to work in spurts instead of consistently each day. These are definitely some things I need to work on.

    1. Thank you so much, Russell! And it took me so long to get my organizing and scheduling in gear. But once I did, I definitely started getting more consistent.

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