Motivating myself to pursue creative passions and projects after a long day of non-creative work can be a struggle. The feelings go hand in hand with my desire to exercise, which is probably why so many people suggest exercising before you start your day rather than when you are mentally exhausted after work. This led me to thinking about the number of author interviews I have read where they reveal that before doing anything, except perhaps making coffee, they start their day writing. No e-mails. No finances. No news. Nothing!
With a number of daily responsibilities for both home and work, sometimes starting my day for myself is simply not possible. No matter how much I try to set aside an hour first thing in the morning for writing or other creative endeavors, sometimes life gets in the way.
What I need is a way to keep that creative energy up throughout the day, or at least put it on reserve, so I can be inspired and energized once my work, chores and treasured family time has been safely tucked into bed for the night.
I amassed a list of activities that can be done throughout the day or during specific activities on weekdays and weekends. I will present my creative exercises, and even some from my readers, in regular weekly post to build creative muscles and strengthen creative stamina. If you have any exercises you use to build your creative muscles, please let me know if the comments below.
This week we will start off with a fairly easy one to get you going.
Reading is one of my favorite creative exercises. Not the type of reading I do for pleasure, this is a more active form of this pastime that I use to enhance my imagination.
I set aside time each day to read. It doesn’t need to be for long, even fifteen minutes can be effective, but ideally you should choose a highly descriptive section of a book. If you are an author, step away from analyzing the characters, plot, structure and style, and simply absorb the words. Let the characters and locations come alive in your mind. Visualize the characters’ features and clothing adding what you think the author may have missed. Explore the location described in the passage and expand to areas outside of the authors words.
If the character is in a room, explore the tables, cabinets and bookshelves for items even the author did not mention. Feel the plush carpet or hard wood floor. Run your hands through the soft fur of the purring cat and spilled coffee on the table that left a sticky residue on the table. Hear the birds and wind rustling through the leaves just outside an open window. You can do the same with any location. Let your senses run free.
If you are so inclined, leave the characters and current location behind and head off to explore the author’s world on your own. You are creative, you don’t need the author holding your hand.
When you return to practicing your own creative endeavors, remember this experience. You can then reverse engineer your experience for your own work by imagining in detail before your hand begins to sketch or type the words on the screen. Who knows maybe that slightest detail of you painting, the smallest feature in your sculpture or a passing description in your novel will make all the difference in the end.
This exercise helps with: Imagination, Visualization, Description