Create for its own sake (even when it won’t bring you fame, fortune or fans), part 2

knit artCreating for yourself and for your pure enjoyment brings you tremendous benefits, even when it won’t bring you fame, fortune or fans.

But when you have paid work and other pressing responsibilities to handle, it’s easy to neglect your creative pursuits.

Discipline and willpower are limited. So to create for its own sake, don’t make it into a big, important choice. Rather, turn it into automatic behavior or incorporate it into your normal routine.

Below are 3 steps to help you do just that:

Make time for it.

Carve out specific time in your daily, weekly or monthly routine to explore your creative interest. Include it on your to-do list or add it to your checklist. Better yet, schedule it on your calendar.

Treat your creative time as sacred, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day. Indulge in the activity consistently and frequently. Having a structure or framework frees up the creative process, instead of stifles it.

Make space for it. 

Set aside a physical space for your creative effort, which can range from a laptop or sketchbook to a corner in a room to a workshop or studio.

Also create the mental space (ideal mindset) that allows you to  let go of perfectionism, experiment freely, and stretch your comfort zone without fear of failure. Stay relaxed to make way for creative breakthroughs. Improvise more; practice less.

Make a habit loop for it.

In The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg notes that there is a neurological loop at the core of every habit. The loop consists of three parts: a cure or trigger, a routine, and a reward.

The cue or trigger includes the time of day, your emotional state, your location, the people around you, and the immediately preceding action. The routine involves the behavior itself.  The reward is the intrinsic feeling and external treat you get from the behavior, which your brain remembers and likes. You repeat the behavior because you want to receive the reward again.

Duhigg states that 40% to 45% of what we do each day are actually habits, not real decisions. Deliberate choices become habits when we stop thinking about it and keep doing it, often every day.

Develop and follow a plan to make your creative endeavor into a habit. That way, you won’t have to decide to do it, which takes discipline and willpower. You’ll just do it as if it were second nature or part of your regular routine (like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or checking your email).

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Photo by: Sally