When you work for yourself, it can feel like everything you do needs to have a purpose. You must always be maximising your time, increasing your productivity, and getting the best return for your efforts. The same can be true when you work for someone else too!
We’re conditioned to be productive. Useful. Purposeful.
So, when do we make time to do something simply for the joy of doing it?
To experience something without an agenda?
Why would we even need to do this?
I spoke to my friend and coach Jennifer Lynch recently for her new podcast on Reclaiming Creativity, and finished with a promise to myself to make more room for creativity in my life, but without putting pressure on it to be anything else. To enjoy creativity simply for the sake of creativity.
I made this promise because although I have made so much more room for creativity in my life over the last 3 years, I have also increased the pressure on my creativity to also become a business and my livelihood. This is something Liz Gilbert warns us against in Big Magic:
“To yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”ELIZABETH GILBERT, BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR
I have also put pressure on my creativity to serve the purpose of helping women, whether it’s through my coaching, my community, the events I organise, or with my writing, and again, Liz Gilbert cautions us not to crush our creativity with such a weighty intention:
“You’re not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words, it also doesn’t have to be important. For example, whenever anyone tells me that they want to write a book in order to help other people I always think ‘Oh, please don’t. Please don’t try to help me.’ I mean it’s very kind of you to help people, but please don’t make it your sole creative motive because we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.”Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
The truth is that simply adding creativity to our lives improves the quality of our living, even if it never pays our bills, or changes the world. It’s worth doing simply for the sake of doing:
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”ELIZABETH GILBERT, BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR
With that in mind, I have recently picked up my sketch pad and colouring pencils again. Something I could never crush with weighty expectations because I simply don’t have the skills or natural artistic talents to ever ask anything more of my colourful doodles! But I allow the smooth pencils to flow over the creamy pages as an energetic outlet, an expression of creativity, for the sake of creativity. It feels decadent, and yet, transcendent.
Have you tried this before? Do you know this sensation of allowing creativity to flow through you, without putting pressure on it to be anything else? I invite you to try it today, and enjoy this feeling for yourself.