Creating a Creative Ritual

Lately I’ve been working from home. It’s been fantastic for saving time and money commuting. But one down-side is that it can mix up work with leisure.

But another issue for me is that I do my artistic stuff at home too.

I don’t have a studio, and this means that my home (leisure) and artistic life are already quite mixed up. I have one desk in one room, where I switch contexts a lot. I change the configuration of my desk depending on what I’m doing. Maybe the keyboard and mouse come out to play video games, or the the Wacom drawing tablet to create digital art or it all goes away so I can draw and paint with traditional mediums.

Now, added to the mix are my work laptop and monitors. It makes for a pretty confusing time for my subconscious. Am I at this desk in this room to work, play or create art?

Not knowing really doesn’t help with my artistic block, where I just don’t feel like doing anything creative.

Although working from home is coming to an end (more on that in another post), something that came up in talks with my personal coach was creating and performing a creative ritual.

What is a Creative Ritual?

A creative ritual to me is something that you do to just tell yourself that it’s time to create. It’s a sign to your mind and body that you’re switching contexts from whatever it was before into a creative mode.

I think this is an idea found in Steven Pressfield’s book on beating creative block, The War of Art. The idea is the same as sitting down at the same time every day in the same place to just do the work. Except I’m busy and I’m sure many other creatives are too. So this ideal situation isn’t super practical.

You could call it a winding down or inspiration ritual as well, whatever works for you. But for me, it’s a sign for me to loosen up after the rigidity of office work to be loose, relaxed and creative however I’d like to be.

Now I acknowledge that having a separate space to create art is ideal (and I’m working on getting studio space!), but even then, having a creativity ritual is still valuable.

My Creative Ritual

My creative ritual consists of moving my body and doing some fun things to loosen up my mind. Here it is:

  • Go for a short walk
  • Listen to music and dance/sing
  • Light a candle or incense stick and meditate
  • Doodle on a piece of copy paper
  • Do a solo improv game

There is no order or priority to this, the main thing is that I commit to doing it to open up my creative space.

Tips to Create your own Creativity Ritual

If you’re thinking of making your own ritual, here would be my tips.

Keep it short so that you don’t end up spending hours each day before creating things. A ritual 10-15 minutes in total would be ideal.

Keep it mostly independent of the weather. Most of the steps on my list can be done indoors, but even going for a walk can be replaced by skipping outside for a while or walking on a treadmill.

Do something physical. It signals to your body that you’re entering a different mode.

Do it only for yourself. Lock the door, close your windows and blinds and do the ritual. Nobody should be watching, nobody should be judging, there should be no cameras or microphones recording. Doing any of these things opens your little ritual up to judgment. Especially don’t judge yourself.

So, a creativity ritual. It’s cathartic and a fun thing that I do before I enter my artistic mode. If you end up making your own ritual I’d love to hear what you get up to.

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