Defining a creative practice is important. However, it can be challenging to find time to do so when you are managing multiple projects. I understand, it’s difficult to find the time to think about your process – you just need to do work. I’ve been there. However, I want to encourage you to start a Creative Practice Journal – a journal of what inspires you to create, what you do when you create (your creation ritual) and the length of time you spend creating. Begin making a creative practice with these three tools: inspiration, action and time. I hope this helps you to start your creation practice journal. When you are busy working but want to take steps to begin to define your process return to this three step approach.

Inspiration

At the end of each day, take 20 minutes to write a journal of everything that you did.  Then, identify the things that inspired you throughout the day.

First, document what inspires you. Personally, going to the theater, film festivals, museums, conferences and travelling by plane or train inspire me. Reflecting on your day, write down the things that inspired you. If you do this consistently for 30 days, 180 days, or even 365 days, you’ll see the foundation of your creative process. When you know where you draw your inspiration, you’ll know how to start creating. You may need different kinds of inspiration at different times. Keeping a consistent record will help you to analyze yourself throughout different phases of your life and creative process.

Actions

What do you do after you get inspired? 

Inspiration is just the beginning. Next, what do you do when you are inspired? Do you call a friend, do you start writing down your thoughts? Do you sit and do nothing? What happens when you get inspired? This is important to document because some actions lead to a productive creation session and some action lead to unfinished projects. This is complex because some things like doing nothing for one week may legitimately be a part of your creative process. They also may simply be procrastination. It truly depends on whether or not the action leads to a creation that represents you. So, here’s what you do: record everything that you did after you were inspired. This is essential because if you record everything you do after you get inspired then you can replicate the steps the next time. Also, this knowledge is powerful because, ultimately, you are developing a method that you can teach to other artists in your field. If you know what you do each time you create then you can tell someone else how to do it. Your knowledge has a value that can lead to a workshop, online course or book. The future value of this knowledge is an asset building the growth and longevity of your career.

Time

Finally, record the time that each of these things take.

When defining a creative practice, you want to keep track of how much time it takes to complete you work. Don’t make any effort to manage that time. The human brain cannot create and judge at the same time. Once you start to think about how much time something should take, you are no longer able to create. Our goal here is not to judge but rather simply to know what amount of time has been given to each activity. In your time record include inspiration, preparation time, errands, research, communication. Also, be sure to record breaks in between work because rest is a part of work. If there are setbacks and you have to stop working on the project, record these as well. This will help to ensure that you understand what factors led to those setbacks so that you can prevent them in the future. In the future, by using this practice, you’ll be able to use this information to control inspiration, activities and time.

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