September is a busy month. Not only does it mark the official start of the school year (and all the traffic that implies), but it also means back to work for most of the corporate world after spending August soaking up the last rays of summer.
It’s been busy for me, too. After a glorious August spent mostly reading, writing, and content planning while I was in between projects at my day job, I hit the ground running with some new clients this month. I’ve been in the corporate world for over 15 years, and it never ceases to amaze me just how much actually happens in September.
I’m also amazed at how easily I tend to lose sight of my creative goals around this time every year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of new beginnings, activities, and quarterly planning, I always seem to forget just how important it is to create.
Why is that? Why do we suddenly forget all the benefits of engaging in our passions when our worlds get crazy? It’s not as if we’re any less dedicated to our art than we were before. I’m committed to my writing, even when I’m not actively committed. I can’t not write and still, somehow, when I get busy, writing is the first thing I sacrifice.
A busy month should elevate our desire to be creative rather than inhibit it, right? We need it more than we do during times of relaxation and peace. We need it to keep going.
And so, in the spirit of replenishing our creative souls, I give you this reminder:
Five Reasons to Create…TODAY
1. Creating boosts productivity
I have a routine. This surprises nobody that knows me but, even if you don’t know me very well, everyone understands the comfort having a routine affords the task master. We are creatures of habit, sometimes to a fault. There are days my schedule is so regimented, and I become so focused on producing that I forget the circumstances under which I do my best work.
Giving yourself time and space to create can enhance your productivity when it comes to accomplishing non-creative tasks. Engaging in activities that build you up can help you reconnect with rational thought and give you some perspective. Mulling over a new innovative idea that just won’t gel? Practicing a creative hobby can pull you out of the muck and clear your mind, allowing you to focus on the solution. My go-to for solving a work problem is to play a few chords on the keyboard in my home office. It never fails!
2. Creating provides balance
We need more of this. Desperately. We’re a society that couldn’t balance on one foot, let alone balance our checkbooks. For those of you who haven’t read my intro post, I have a day job working in the digital space. Working in a field that forces you to move at the speed of light, isn’t always conducive to living a balanced life.
Creating helps me achieve that balance (and gives me something else to talk about besides work 24/7). Writing is the yin to my yang. It smooths out the edges of my professional life so I can breathe and gives me the time and space I need to reflect on my goals and avoid burnout. Simply put, writing is my center. It helps me stay focused on what’s really important.
3. Creating gives our lives Meaning and Purpose
Ok, I know I’m a consultant and not a psychologist, but let’s get real for a second. We’ve all had the, what is this all for moment, right? You know – the one that happens while you’re sitting in an hour of traffic to drive ten miles to work or weeding through ten open browser windows on one computer screen while trying to track an equal number of spreadsheets on the other. Yup, I get it. It happens. After all, we’re only human, and as human beings we need a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
I recently read about how some people in Japan live their best life, and it’s not by earning more money or buying more stuff. It’s about devoting themselves fully and completely to pursuing what makes them truly happy. In other words, their purpose or ikigai. I liked this concept so much that I had “Ikigai” engraved on a necklace that I wear whenever I need to remind myself why I write. It’s also a reminder to keep going, to keep reaching because, even when it’s hard, it matters.
4. Creating lowers stress and anxiety
Ah, yes. Two of my least favorite dinner party guests. Studies have shown that engaging in music, movement, visual arts, or writing can significantly reduce symptoms of emotional tension and even chronic disease. Creative expression and art therapy can improve our health and well-being in ways that sustain our capacity to positively engage with the world.
I don’t know about you but, when I go for long stretches without writing, I walk around in a state of constant agitation. I’ve dubbed it the Krista Komplex, and it’s caused by the buildup of a thousand different stressors without any kind of outlet. In other words, I get too inside my own head. And let me tell you, that is one heck of a scary place to be.
5. Creating encourages connection
Art forces us to listen. It’s a means of self-reflection, but it also makes our lives richer by allowing us to connect with others through shared experiences. If you’re a writer, you know that these lessons are invaluable to creative growth. It’s a cycle. The more you create, the more you learn, and what you learn goes right back into the creative well for you to draw from later. We get inspiration from the world around us, and we use that inspiration to drive us forward.
What benefits do you get from creating? What motivates you? What’s the one passion you can’t live without and how do you use that to connect to yourself and those around you? Chances are, if you’re reading this post you already know the answer to some of these questions, but if you don’t, think about it and add a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Until then, Dream BIG.