In times like these where emotions are running high across the world, where fear and uncertainty are consuming social media chatter, how do creative professionals protect their energy to actually create? It's not easy and lines need to be drawn. There are ways to stay informed on global issues without being bombarded every day and without negativity dragging down your creative energy. You simply need to take back the power and realize that you--and only you--are in control of where you put your focus.
Here are some suggestions:
- Prioritize your creative work above social media. Those of us who create for a living are prone to being sensitive to our environments, which means being utra-sensitive to energy. Limit social media interactions to work only--we all need to promote ourselves, which leads to opening that dreaded Facebook app and risking seeing the mass of political commentary. Go directly to the groups you need for work purposes and interact professionally only. Then sign off. Set a timer if you need to in order to prevent yourself from drifting onto that timeline, reading those articles, getting fired up, commenting on things that make you upset and ultimately DRAIN your creativity.
- Be more disciplined than ever about the projects you need to complete. If you don't have a planner, buy one. I'm talking about a good old-fashioned pen-to-paper planner that does not involve going online at all. You cannot control world events so focus on what you can control: your business. Write down the projects you need to complete per quarter and then break down milestones you need to achieve each week and month to stay on track. Keep that planner on your desk or within reach so you can check on it daily.
- Nurture yourself every day. We creatives need to take care of ourselves in order to create. Whether it is a walk in nature, going to the gym, meditating, listening to our favorite music, reading for a few hours a day, or immersing ourselves in a silent house while we decompress--if it calms your spirit and focuses your mind, a self-nurturing activity is a must do on your daily priority list. Don't neglect it, don't tell yourself there is something more important to do. Even if for only fifteen minutes, you need to do something that makes you feel good.
- Use your DVR or watch streaming networks like Neflix or Amazon Prime for entertainment. Escape commercials and constant bad news by being ultra-selective on what kind of programming you allow into your mind. With the DVR, you can fast-forward through commercials and skip the news. Amazon Prime and Netflix as well as Hulu or SlingTV offer original programming and so much more that can entertain you without the negativity of mainstream television. Don't have a smart TV? You can buy a smart TV box that hooks up to your existing TV for only $75 at Walmart (as an example) and stream away!
- Make no apologies for removing yourself from toxic people or situations. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but you don't have to listen. It's okay to distance yourself from people or situations that distract you from your purpose. You don't need an excuse. Your creativity is the most valuable asset you possess--especially as someone whose livliehood depends on it--and you owe it to yourself to stay away from anyone or anything that harms that.
- FOCUS! What is your purpose today? Is it a specific word count? Is it to pitch a certain number of potential freelance clients? Have you owned your time or has time owned you? At every given moment, you have the power to choose what you are focussing on--have you chosen wisely today?
- Back to social media--set that timer. I bring this up twice because it's so important, especially in today's world where bad news seems to be happening every day. Become a tyrant with yourself regarding social media use. Ask yourself why you're scrolling and how it's impacting you. How do you feel afterward? Are you flustered? Have you wasted an hour where you could have been writing? What was achieved by all that scrolling and commenting? Be firm with yourself and set a timer for an hour or so. When that bell rings, go do something else. Play with your dog. Go for that walk. Write that damn book.
As creative professionals, we've been given a gift that's worth protecting. Our energy needs to be focused on our projects, not the latest fiasco going on in the world. This doesn't mean we aren't sensitive to the issues at large, but no one but us can create our projects. Most of us are soloprenuers and can't afford to have months of non-productivity because of events beyond our control. If we feel the need to volunteer, then put that time on the planner and contribute to society in that way. In all things, there must be balance. With our creativity, we must protect it at all times--that's our duty to ourselves.
Amber Lea Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. She has also created a line of inspirational journals to add in the creative process. Easton is a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.