The Death of Creativity

Once upon a time, early mornings were the fuel to my creative soul. In college, you would rarely find me pulling all-nighters. The only time I did that was if there was a certain amount of fun to be had that made sleep seem an unnecessary task.

And by fun, I mean stupidity, because freedom combined with zero parental supervision made things like visiting the David Koresh compound at 1:00 am and allowing myself to be escorted around by a man claiming to be a journalist who knew where underground passages were still hidden, and showed us bullet holes in the sides of vans SEEMED LIKE AN EXCELLENT IDEA!

Only a handful of times did I pull an all-nighter to accomplish school work. Even then, I knew that when the sun went down at night, so did my brain. (Again, see the aforementioned stupidity that ruled many of my college late nights).

I was the girl who got up in the early hours of the morning, before the sun rose, and tiptoed into the library to study, or write a paper, or to simply read a book. The stillness of the mornings stimulated my mind, and gave me the fuel I needed to get through my daily classes. By my senior year of college, I was well into my English Professional Writing degree, which meant that I had at least one or two papers due every single day.

Most of those words were typed before the sun peeked above the horizon.

Even then, I knew how I worked best. It’s not much different for me today, though I admit that dragging myself from bed in the early mornings is harder than it once was. In college, I had the benefit of knowing I could lay around in the afternoons. Now I know that from 2:00-9:00, I will need to be on my game. I can’t afford to be exhausted.

But I do know when I am my creative best, and when the situation dictates that I tap into that inner creativity, I push myself out of the warm cocoon of my bed while the rest of the world sleeps.

There are so many different ways in which we creatives can tap into the best parts of ourselves. That’s the beauty of living life as a creative:

We don’t have to fit a mold.

As creatives we have an immense amount of freedom to live life as we were designed, each with a unique set of gifts that cannot be molded into a boxed set of rules. Some work better at night, whittling away the slumbering hours behind desks, easels, and sewing machine. Some, like me, feel the ideas most vivid in the mornings, after just enough sleep has given the brain a chance to rejuvenate.

Some creatives work best to music, while others need absolute silence. Some need a structured environment, others need the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop or book store.

The life of a creative cannot be dictated by too much structure, because once life feels predictable, the creative juices quit flowing.

There is one thing, however, that will stifle and kill any creative spirit. This one thing is insidious in nature, often creeping in when we don’t even expect it.

The death of creativity lies firmly in comparison.


When you begin to compare your gift to her gift, your structured way of working to hers, you will very slowly choke out your own creativity. You are unique. Your method of working is unique. Your talent is unique. Don’t give in to the beast of comparison that whispers softly, “You’re not good enough. Her talent is bigger. Her platform is better. Her skill is more beautiful. Her method of working is more productive.”

As soon as you start ingesting these lies, your creativity will fade.

The creative life cannot be cut into cookie-cutter shapes. It is beautiful because it is unique. Embrace your creativity, and your method for working. Don’t fall prey to the cruelty of comparison. If it means you have to stay away from Pinterest, from blogs, from certain groups or activities, do so. You are uniquely creative, and your gifts are yours alone.

Guard them and share them in the way that lets you uniquely shine.

Summertime Inspiration

I learned early on in my motherhood journey that I am not good at working with my children around. I am easily distracted, have a difficult time stepping away long enough to concentrate, and feel the general, nagging feeling of guilt contract my heart when I have to shoo them away so I can work while they play quietly in other parts of the house.

So summer is a hard time for me to be effective in my profession of creativity.

There is still inspiration to be found, though. Especially now as my children are older and I get to soak in their ability to create something from nothing. I watch them play, write stories, paint with water colors, and read good books, and I remember what it’s like to be a kid and relish the gloriously long, unscheduled days of summer.



There is a certain measure of discipline that I’m required to place on my own summer days. Given the fact that I’ve told my kids they aren’t allowed to use electronics between the hours of 7:00 and 10:00 am, I kind of feel like I need to adhere to that same principle myself. So my writing will take place in the early hours of the morning, or after 10:00.

This morning, I sipped my coffee slowly and watched them learn. We drilled multiplication tables, discussed verbs and nouns, and read books. The kids swam while I cleaned up the house, and I relished in the blissful quiet of a lazy morning.

By the time 10:00 rolled around, we all felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day, and I felt inspired.

I’m inspired by my kids imaginations. I’m inspired by the down time. I’m inspired by the forced slow down, the reading and learning, the just being together.

Will it always be this idyllic? No. They will grow bored with the morning routine at some point, and we will have to sludge through the boredom. Some mornings we will be up and out early to enjoy Florida life (hello water parks and beaches and all the things that make Florida awesome!).

We will be traveling for a few weeks, and time will go by too quickly. Before we know it, summer will end and routine will crank life up a notch again. So while we have this time, I want to relish it – even the whiney moments of boredom.

There is inspiration to find in everything, in every moment of the day. I will get less done this summer, and I’m working to adjust my expectations accordingly, but I have this feeling that if I am willing go with the flow, to embrace the slow, and to soak in the quiet, then I could find that this becomes a summer loaded with inspiration.

What about you? How do you find time to create, and to soak in inspiration in the long summer days when the kids are around all day? How do you fill your time…and theirs? 

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