There have been many studies that say that creativity flourishes at the edge of chaos. Typically these articles refer to fostering creativity in school children. What if you aren’t a school child? What if you’re a creative trying to find your creativity in a time of chaos?
When you, the creative person, or your loved one has a chronic medical condition, you live on the edge of chaos every day. Every upset in routine can send you over the edge and into the chasm that is overwhelming chaos. Perhaps you’re moving to a new house or you’re mother-in-law just moved in. Whatever the cause, something has introduced chaos into your life. Creativity in a time of chaos can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. (It should be obvious, but a life-threatening crisis is a whole ’nuther beast and is NOT part of this discussion.)
When Chaos Hits
Surprised by a chaotic situation, some of us go into an “all hands on deck” mode in which the creative handles and tries to do EVERYTHING. Some of us go into an anxiety-ridden brain-freeze and can’t do anything. So what should a creative do?
When chaos replaces your routine, there are things you can do to allow time and space for creativity.
Turn the Negative Positive
First, are you thinking of this crisis, this chaotic situation, in a negative way? What if your negativity IS the problem? What if the chaos is an opportunity for something greater to happen? Re-shape your thoughts. Instead of, oh, no, now I’ll never get it done, rephrase it as a positive. It doesn’t have to be a Pollyanna statement, but something like, it’ll be a challenge but I can figure this out.
Recognize that the chaos is external and keep it there. Don’t let it define you or stop you. If you believe you can’t escape it, re-frame that thought. What would happen if you did escape it for five minutes? For longer?
Be your own best friend
A part of you may like the adrenaline rush that chaos brings. Forgive yourself for that and/or for not being able to do and be all things. Give yourself permission to delegate or to re-negotiate deadlines.
Set smaller achievable goals
You’ll feel much better you feel when you spend even a mere ten minutes of creativity.
Find the silence
The silence being whatever you need to have for your creative space. Perhaps you need to get up earlier or stay up later. Or, a new ritual to put yourself into the creative frame of mind. Light a candle, listen to music or enjoy a fragrance that puts you in that place.
Stress reduces the endorphins that help you feel happier. Exercise will increase those.
Recognize your courage
It can take great courage, discipline, and self-awareness to see through the chaos in your life. Congratulate yourself for what you do accomplish, even the non-creative things. Reward yourself for your courage and discipline. You deserve it.
Creativity in a time of chaos IS possible. Remember, creativity flourishes on the edge of chaos. So even when you’re deep in chaos, you only have to get up to the edge. And there, great things can happen.
Good point Lynette! I love your positivity. May it rub off on me and many others! I think we will never have the perfect time or opportunity to be creative. I believe, as with anything, that if it’s important to us, we need to make the time to be creative. Of course, that is not to say any one of us, at any given time, may become so overwhelmed or exhausted with all the chaos or other things in our life, that it might cut into our creativity, leaving us little or no energy to produce said creativity. Which can cause much discouragement and frustration! One day I received an email from a traditional published author who shared their experience with creative inactivity during a very stressful time in their life. They just couldn’t write. And I thought, wow, if they couldn’t write, I shouldn’t feel like such a failure because I wasn’t able to write. So, keep up all the encouraging posts! Because it really does make a difference. (FYI. I have tried to subscribe to your posts and I am not receiving them in my ebox.) Can you look into this? Thanks girl!! ((Hugs)) 🙂
Thank you, Karen. I’m so glad it helps to get the encouragement. Ack! I’m sorry you’re not getting my posts by email but thank you for letting me know. I am looking into that right now. I’ll email you what I learn.