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.