As every year, also this year I spend the summer at my parent’s country house in Poland. However, unlike any previous summer, during the summer of 2022, I had very little time for my creative practice. Not to fall behind on my ongoing projects, every morning, I woke up extra early (early nights are required for that, the extreme heat doesn’t help with crafting healthy sleeping patterns). During those early hours, I worked either on my writing or editing my newest documentary – “Save the Water”.
I chose my sister’s bedroom, who also lives in London, as my temporary workspace for the summer as the kids occupied my bedroom. At first, my projects were progressing along nicely. However, after a couple of weeks, I started feeling somewhat despondent toward what I initially thought was my stagnated work routine. My creative flow felt stuck and sluggish. One morning nudged by my gut feeling, I moved my computer to another location, hoping it would make my work slightly less constrained. I set up to write at one of the tables at my mum’s B&B. Nothing was enchanting or special about the table I chose, just another ordinary brown square with four legs and four chairs. However, to my delightful surprise, my creative flow got swiftly unblocked. In just an hour, I finished a couple of pieces I was re-writing, which must have been my newest re-writing record 🙂
As creatives, we often feel stuck, which may lead to many unproductive hours of staring at the blank screen. But what if that temporary hiccup wasn’t driven by creativity in crisis but rather the environment we were surrounded by?
In real life, when people want to move on and introduce change in their lives, they often start by changing clothes that no longer fit with their new image of themselves. They also begin clearing massive amounts of unnecessary items they managed to collect over the years to make their new journey lighter. Creativity also needs physical and mental space; hence changing working location or work routine from time to time can offer heaps of creative opportunities. Unlike human nature, creativity isn’t afraid of change and the consequences that change inevitably will generate.
As for my creativity, most of the summers I spent in Poland weren’t as artistically stimulating as I had hoped or planned. I often blamed the heat for my underperformance during the summer months. However, thanks to my BA (top-up) year, I started working on projects and developing ideas whenever possible, regardless of the temperature outside. I had no choice but to continue if I wanted to meet all the deadlines. I’m glad I stuck with that practice over the summer and pushed through the countless heatwaves the summer of 2022 bestowed on us. During those few weeks, I was able to make significant progress with my projects. Seeing them come to life despite my limited time and self-imposed creative restrictions was encouraging and liberating on many levels.
If you feel your creativity is stuck or isn’t flowing in its usual rhythm, maybe change your working location or shake up your work routine. I used to love working in the evenings, but now I would rather watch a film or a show with my family. That mental disconnection from my work helps me wake up early in the morning with a refreshed outlook on the project I’m working on. At this point in my life, I physically can’t and don’t want to work late into the night as I know it doesn’t benefit my creativity and mental or physical health.
I have no idea what the future will bring, but I will definitely be more inclined to shake up my working routine. As much as inspiration is part of any creative practice, so is the routine that allows the inspiration to take shape and form. And sometimes, the routine, just like the inspiration, needs revamping.