Dealing with downtime.
Curiosity killed the cat, and boredom got the better of it.
As a creator, the biggest hurdle is dealing with downtime.
There’s no schedule, there’s no deadlines, there’s no bosses, and there’s no motivation; except for the thirst to continue creating.
As a writer, we search, hunting for the next subject to write about — for that moment to strike when everything comes to a halt; the dinner plate gets cold, doesn’t matter, I’m not moving until I finish this piece.
Hit publish, and then it’s gone — what do I do now?
Where’s my next piece?
The agony, the anxiety, the paranoia — I’ll read, I’ll browse, I’ll keep looking.
Until fatigue takes over, we’ve exhausted all our mental strength and there’s nothing of substance to add.
How do you find inspiration?
How do you fill the gap of this moment when nothing is coming to you?
The motivation to keep going, to deal with the downtime.
The moments when we’re left waiting.
Especially if this isn’t a side hustle; it’s your only passion of pursuit.
There’s only so much reading we can do, there’s only so much movies we can watch, there’s only so many people we can talk to; until the options run out.
Please, brain cells — churn up some chemicals and reignite the creative strike once more.
If you’re anything like me, you hate vacations, you hate weekends, you want to work — all the time; you need the constant buzz creativity provides.
After a while, it starts to diminish — the thirst becomes anger, the passion becomes exhaustion, and the pursuit feels like failure.
Except it doesn’t have to be that way,
It’s a simple mechanism, one we fail to acknowledge; but is right there for the taking, if we seek to find it.
Find something you can work through physically.
Trust me, it works.
Creativity and Exercise — are Yin and Yang; they both serve a purpose.
Creativity is exercise for the soul.
Exercise is creativity for the body.
It’s when these two align, that we can find the strength to keep going.
The euphoria, the rush, the downtime needs to be filled with something productive.
Pick a physical task, any task — doesn’t require it to be in a group, it doesn’t even require training.
It just needs to be an outlet when you can polish your body.
Keeping it alive and active.
An outlet through which the chemicals reignite, a sense of relief it provides.
The physical release, not only wakes up your body; it vibrates the very chemicals needed to pursue the creative strength we need.
Testosterone, Dopamine, Serotonin; they’re all chemicals within our brain providing a function.
They can be garnered through Meditation and Exercise — through physical effort to keep functioning, providing an outlet for us to not feel lethargic.
A Standing Bicycle or A real Bicycle.
A Rowing Machine or Rowing over a lake.
A Run outdoors or A Run on a Treadmill.
Let your favourite playlist run wild in the background; as you give your brain no time to stress or worry, let it be free in the moment.
I practice boxing, I do it practically at a gym; but I’ve got a $35 punching bag and gloves in my room.
I can dance around it, I can punch it, I can kick it, I can exercise my physical body and slowly the panic and anxiety starts to fade away.
I forget I’m even punching at a bag, I find the rhythm and go with the flow.
On rare moments, I am pulled back into the moment — struck with an idea.
I’ve got to run to my computer, sweaty, probably even forgot to take my gloves off; who cares — I need to type this out.
…and when I’m done, I’m back at it again.
It’s not a Hollywood stereotype that most creative individuals are riddled with addiction; often portrayed as alcoholics or drug addicts — what is also true is we’re thrill seekers.
When the thrill of creativity isn’t striking, we look for other outlets, other sources of pleasure, affirmation — but they don’t all have to be negative nor abusive.
We can garner the same energy by finding a simple physical exercise, and putting our energy into it.
The first step is never easy, there’s anxiety, there’s self-consciousness, there’s nervousness, there’s the fear of being ridiculed.
But those fears exist in every pursuit.
It’s just a lot easier to deal with it using substance abuse; because it’s simple.
Those motivational gurus, or those Gym-bros — they’re not always wrong.
That meathead is probably not all wrong either.
Know that we’re not trying to prove anything, we’re not trying to get that body to impress others — we’re doing it for ourselves, it’s nobody else’s business.
So how do I deal with my downtime?
I punch and kick at my boxing bag till there’s no more room left for any anxiety or depression; only creativity and clear thought.
If not, I’m left dangling — waiting for next notification, ridiculous.
I refuse to give in, which is I need to keep moving.
The greatest reward, is after all the physical exhaustion — you’ll sleep like a baby.
Good luck on your pursuit!