Creative output cannot be forced, but it can be encouraged.
Anyone who has tried to do any kind of creative work on a regular basis knows that inspiration can be difficult to control. It is a mysterious force that seems to arrive in an instant and disappear just as quickly if not channeled to our chosen medium. While we may not be able to control how, when, and where our muse arrives, we can set up certain circumstances that encourage her to do so more regularly and predictably.
Contrary to her perceived whimsical nature, our muse can often be coaxed into expressing herself through consistency. If we do our creative work at the same time, in the same place, and with the same, or at least similar, environmental circumstances every day, we allow our conscious minds to relax enough to give the room necessary for our deeper consciousnesses to express themselves. By giving ourselves a consistent environment within which to be creative, wherein our muse knows she is safe to show herself every day, we are much more likely to be productive.
There are some environmental circumstances, such as early morning or late night hours, low, natural light, soft, instrumental music, etc., that lend themselves more readily to creative output than others, but, ultimately, creative space is highly personal. While we must avoid the pitfall of procrastinating until we find the exact right circumstances within which to be creative, the effort to create these circumstances for ourselves will be well worth our efforts. A consistent set and setting tells our muse that we are serious.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.
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