Did you know?—clutter is killing your creativity. Little by little, it accumulates in corners, files, and even in the recesses of your own mind, draining away your creative well with distractions until you’re left feeling helpless, frustrated, and completely burned out.
I’ve talked before about simplicity, and how it is not the same thing as minimalism. However, it is not uncommon for minimalism to become part of living a simplistic lifestyle. The truth is, these two often walk hand in hand, and today I want to talk about a few ways that minimalism, specifically, can help to rejuvenate and enhance your creativity.
I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
What is the purpose of beauty? Every day, we’re surrounded by a kaleidoscope of enrapturing glory—magic and wonder. Questions and mysteries await us at every turn: the fabric of the universe. But what is the point of it all?
Some would say wonder is a useless pursuit—and perhaps it is, for Wonder in itself does not profit, nor is it incredibly practical. It accomplishes nothing in terms of money or shelter, and yet Wonder touches a deeper part of us: the essence of our nature; our desire to explore, create, and understand. If all we live for is profit, then wonder—beauty—is absolutely and utterly useless. And life is astonishingly empty.
As humans, we often have a hard time embracing our creative identity. In fact, we sometimes believe we aren’t creative at all, and that such talents only belong to other people.
We’re quick to form a picture of what makes someone “creative”. We put lables on people who live creative lifestyles; sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and then we limit ourselves to believing they are the only ones capable of living that way. If we want to break into the realm of Wonder, these myths about creativity need to die.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I’ll often spend more time analyzing my work than I do actually working. (Oh hey, I’m doing it right now with these opening sentences. What a great start.)
If you’re a perfectionist, don’t feel bad. You have great qualities, such as diligence, loyalty, and a desire for excellence. We need people like you and I in this world, but as perfectionists, we’ve got to learn how to manage our gifts, lest they become a hindrance.
Some days creativity comes easier than others. It’s always nice when the stream is flowing and the words and colors and ideas are coming, but we all know it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t feel creative. Sometimes, you might even wonder if you’ll ever feel that way again.
When I was in high school, I focused all my spare energy on writing novels. I wrote and wrote and wrote; hundreds of thousands of words. And at first it was easy. But there came a time, shortly after I graduated when I stopped writing almost altogether. It was like the spark of passion I’d had had gone out.
If you’ve ever felt creative burnout, you know how much it sucks. Especially if creativity is something you love and thrive on. Being outside your creative flow is like gasping for breath, really—the breath of your soul.
The trouble is, sometimes, the more you chase creativity, the farther away it feels. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid burnout in the first place—(yes, it really is possible)—and today I want to share three strategies to help you.