I won't lie to you. Anyone reading this headline would probably do a double take to see if I--the anti-morning queen--was actually the author of this post. Let me ease your skepticism now--I define "morning" quite loosely. It can be 5AM (does that hour even exist?) or it can be 10AM (that's more like it). Whenever you decide to wake up, the following tips are meant to put you in the creative mindset right from the get go.
I will confess that I don't do all of these all at once, but rather have done each of them individually or in some combination as part of my wake-up routine. Regardless of if I'm doing them now or not, all of them have played a valuable role for me through my creative ventures.
Meditation--I know I keep beating this drum, but taking advantage of an already clear albeit groggy mind immediately upon waking has been crucial for me, especially lately. It puts me in the seat of the "observer" and helps me to get control of my mind before my "to do" list starts filtering in. I usually take 10 minutes to sit in silence and meditate. Key tip: SIT UP. If you do it lying down, you'll just fall back to sleep. Not that I would know….
Sketch for 10-30 minutes--Early last year I created a new routine for myself where I woke up an hour or so earlier and started my day with creating. At the time I was working to improve my drawing skills, so I would spend about a half hour running through some drills every morning and doing some basic sketching. I really valued this time both from a well-being perspective and a creative perspective. I got to do something I was passionate about first thing in the morning when my mind was clearest and get the juices flowing. I started to come up with a lot of ideas for paintings and new pieces during this time as well.
Do a morning workout--Last year I also tried getting a workout in on some of those mornings (I know, I was really ambitious at that time, mkay?!) and noticed that I had more energy. My brain loved the buzz and I felt really confident in my creating. If you are looking for the extra boost to keep your juices flowing, I recommend adding this to your routine.
Journaling--This practice has taken many different forms over the years from gratitude journaling to projection journaling where I would imagine it was the end of the day and write down what I did, how it went, how I felt, etc. It really worked and was so fun to see all of the things I wanted to create during the day. I highly recommend this practice if you are having a creative block. This has been a crutch that I've broken out repeatedly during those moments.
Listening to a motivational podcast--I'm not a huge podcast listener, but I've gone through a few. I really enjoy Susan Nethercote's podcast where she talks about being an artist and well-being, etc. I've also listened to more life coach type of podcasts like the one by Brooke Castillo. Both have motivated me as a creator at different points.
"What I want to accomplish today" list--I'll be real. I don't do well with "to do" lists. I get overwhelmed with them really easily and wind up throwing them out. I've had to recast them as something different and lately, I've found this to be the most successful. I have running lists for each area of my life--art, work, personal--of items that need attention. From there, each day I write down a "What I want to accomplish" list that lists 3-5 things from those other lists (or things that are floating around in my head). By having to recreate this every day, I am intentionally choosing the type of day I want to create and am checking in with myself. It's been a really helpful organizational tip for me and by keeping it short, I am able to easily get done the things on the list so by the end of my day I feel, you guessed it--accomplished.
Read-- Taking 30 minutes when you wake up to read something you're really into can spur creativity as well. For me, fantasy fiction at this time really gets me going. I get inspired by the worlds and characters the authors create and find myself coming up with my own ideas of characters and scenes to paint. It's just a super fun way to kick off the day.
There you have it! Those are some of the tips that have helped me in the past or are currently helping keep my creativity going. Is there something you do that I missed? Let me know! I'd love to hear your ideas!