A couple of months ago, I wrote about how to overcome writer’s block. I suggested a few things to combat writer’s block, including making time for writing (or whatever your creative endeavors might be). I neglected to say one important thing in that article – without energy, you’re not going to get anything done. Energy powers almost everything in the universe, from huge, atom-smashing suns to our own thoughts. Granted, different forms and types of energy exist throughout the universe. There are several types of physical energies, such as electricity, heat, light, chemical, and et cetera. There are also non-physical energies, such as mental and creative energies. These creative energies power our creative outputs much like a physical battery powers your smartphone. Without our creative energy, we’re not going to create anything worth a damn. And again, like a smartphone, we have batteries to store this energy. So, how do you charge your charge our creative batteries?
Wait, Creative batteries?
Firstly – creative (and mental) energy might be more of a metaphor than a scientific concept. Honestly, who cares? The metaphor works. Besides, we have all had those times when we made time to create, and yet could not. Sometimes we can power through these creative droughts, but sometimes our creative batteries just die. These batteries have been drained to 0. We just have nothing to say or do or show. We may as well just write a Nickelback song because that’s about the scope of our creative abilities!
So let’s get to it…recharge your creative batteries.
To recharge your creative batteries, you must find what works for your own mind. Going back to the smartphone analogy, to recharge your phone, you must have the right cable. If you have a USB C cable, you won’t be able to recharge your iPhone. You’ll need a lightning cable because Apple wants to be special and use proprietary cables – but I digress.
My point being – the specifics of what works for me might not work for you. One must experiment to find what actually recharges their creative batteries. Still, there are a few basic suggestions you can try to recharge your batteries.
Basic Suggestion #1: Try to write when you feel good!
If you’re not feeling your best, your output might not be palatable to your audience. Of course, this is a suggestion and not a rule so your mileage may vary. Personally, if I am feeling depressed – well, I just don’t give a flip about writing. I generally force myself anyway, but I often come up with crap like “The Best Stuff Ever.” Did you read that piece of crap? Yeah….I’m sorry. I have half a mind to take it down because it was so bad. My point being, when I wrote that, I was in a pretty miserable place. And oh – did it show! Seriously – I wrote about my freaking glasses! What a boring topic!
Basic Suggestion #2: Express your pain.
This suggestion is the antithesis of the last suggestion. Expressing one’s pain can be quite therapeutic and can actually cause you to write something amazing. A great example from my own writing: What Should I Wear to the Hospital? When I wrote this piece, I visited my mom in the hospital almost every day. I knew every visit could potentially be the last time I saw her, and the last time she saw me. Thus, every day when I dressed myself, I felt an existential crisis on what to wear. So…I wrote about it!
Writing about this inner conflict manifested in a daily shirt choice which made me conclude that what I wore did not matter. Err, strike that. My choice of shirt mattered a lot, but only because it was a small part of my life I could control when so much of my life was out of control. That article was extremely therapeutic, and certainly one of my favorite articles on this website.
Basic Suggestion #3: Immerse yourself in what primes your creative mind.
Recently, I decided to read the entirety of Fables, (including all the spin off series). The reason for this sudden immersion, the universe of Fables really engages my creative mind. The last couple months, I felt as though my creativity is at a buffet of some of the best foods – I put one volume down and immediately want to read the next volume. The series stretches my own world and makes me dream of worlds that (to my knowledge) don’t exist – but they could if someone wrote about them! Maybe that person should be me.
Another thing that primes my creative mind: music. I started audioperfecta.com mainly because music inspires me so much, I wanted a place to write about it. One night, right before starting AudioPerfecta, I heard the Cowboy Junkies song, “Crescent Moon,” and hearing the seemingly unrelated instruments as individual pieces. It was beautiful and it was inspiring. I wanted to share this beauty with the rest of the world. I needed to tell everyone why music matters. This is the way I still feel on almost a daily basis. All it takes is an amazing song to turn my creative juices on. By the way – listen to this song. And This one. And This one. Aren’t those songs amazing?
I don’t expect you to have the same creative primes as myself, but if there’s something in your life, be it a book, a painting, music, or what have you – go view / read / listen / experience that on a regular basis! You just found a source of unlimited creative energy and you need to tap into that as often as you can!
Basic Suggestion #4: Immerse yourself in life!
I once heard Sarah Vowell say she missed having a normal job in a way. The main reason: when Vowell started writing, she stopped having “ordinary life” experiences. Her life was writing, and her experiences wrapped themselves around her career.
Our life events are a huge part of creating! I already shared a few of those writings here, but there are so many more. For instance, Breaking up With Godaddy, where I talk about moving my hosting service. There’s the story I wrote last month about getting into a car accident, all because my friend and I were too busy yelling juvenile things out of the window. I even released a deep, dark, secret obsession I have with Kelly Clarkson one time in “It’s Ok to like bad music.”
Life is FULL of experiences just prime for inspiring our creativity. Always keep your eye open for inspiration. ALWAYS! In movies, in your day job, in pretty much anything and everything you can name – you can create something! And don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from embarrassing secrets. It is your duty as a creator to tell the world your secrets!
Basic Suggestion #5: Surround yourself with the right people!
Are you talking with other creative minds? Maybe not in person, but at least online? If you’re not, you should. I subscribe to a few subreddits that more or less challenge me creatively. There’s a few writing focused Facebook groups I subscribe to as well. The people in these groups even give me feedback from time to time. People power us! They tell us what we’re doing wrong, what we’re doing right, and even what direction they think we should go with our creativity. It’s a great experience! Seriously!
Charge your creative batteries regularly!
Folks, the last thing I can tell you is to charge often! Don’t wait till you’re at one percent! Just as you make time to be creative, you also need to make time to charge your creative batteries. This very website is littered with examples of times where I have not followed my own advice. Go back a couple years, and you will see article after article that were both difficult to write and boring to read. Why? Because while I made time to write, I did not charge my batteries. I was writing with no creative energy and my articles reflected this.
Think about it like maintenance. You plan maintenance of your vehicle, of your computer….you also need to plan maintenance of your creativity. If you don’t maintain your car, you might have engine trouble. If you don’t maintain your computer, you’ll notice slower performance. Likewise, if you don’t maintain your creative batteries, you’ll put out more effort in trying to create something that less people will be interested in. You’ll be slower in producing content, and you’ll put out a lesser quality. Ultimately, you will rob the world of the gifts you have to give through your creative output. That’s just sad.