10 Habits of Successful Creatives
We hear a lot these days...
... about what it means to be a successful creative— how we get there, what the view looks like from the top. But we hear somewhat less about what it takes to get there. There are so many ingredients that go into the making of an amazing bread (that's you, you're the bread).
Since starting The House of Muses, I've met and talked to a lot of creatives from all different types of blogs and businesses, and there are a few things that I see again and again that help people become successful in a mindful and creative way.
Ten. There are ten things.
1. THEY MAKE GOALS
Goal-setting, yeah yeah yeah. I'm sure you've heard about this before, but it's so important that it's worth mentioning again. And again. Goals change lives. Goals provide the fuel and the map to getting where you need to go.
Successful creatives break their big dreams down into smaller and smaller manageable goals that they use to build their day-to-day list of tasks, moving them unstoppably towards their dreams.
2. THEY CHECK IN
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to regularly check-in— I do this weekly, usually on Saturday or Sunday mornings.
Check in with your goals. How are they coming along? Where do you need to make changes?
Check in with your feelings, and your health. Are you stressed? Are you sleeping enough? Are you feeling like you've thrown your life out the window? Now is the time to notice, and to make a change.
3. THEY GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Successful people sleep. Full stop. I know it can be hard to set work aside if you're already burnt out and overwhelmed, but not getting enough sleep will wreck out. Ask Arianna Huffington.
4. THEY REST
Resting is different than sleep. Resting is doing something that isn't work to refresh and heal your mind and body. Resting could be reading, walking or meditating. Resting means getting mindful and understanding what your body is telling you.
5. THEY'RE ACTIVE
If you're a creative entrepreneur or blogger, there is a really good chance that you spend way too much time hunched over a desk, whether you're typing, sketching, writing, or making some other amazing art.
This works for a while, but eventually, you will start to notice the hunchback. Balance yourself and bring energy back into your days by keeping up a consistent practise of light activity— nothing crazy, a few times a week. If jogging or yoga aren't your things, try weightlifting, dance classes, or aerial silks classes.
6. THEY SCHEDULE CREATIVE TIME
Simply put, we can sometimes get too wrapped up in the business part of things. Neil Gaiman once said he knew things were out of control when he was no longer really a writer but a person who professional responds to email.
Don't be that person. Schedule time to make the art that drives your passion. Stick to that space of solitude and creativity religiously.
7. THEY FOCUS
Perhaps it's easier said than done, but the real quality work comes when you set aside multi-tasking and simply focus, mindfully, on the important task before you. If you're addicted to multi-tasking, you might try finding your focus with intense bursts of work coupled with frequent breaks (check out the Pomodoro method).
8. THEY NOURISH THEMSELVES
I promise you, you are not doing your best work on a diet of ramen, oatmeal, and those 100 calorie Special K bars.
Successful, mindful creatives know that nourishing their body is also nourishing their creativity. Take time to make meals and to enjoy them as their own activity (yes, that means doing nothing else while eating).
In the words of Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
9. THEY WORK WHEN THEY'RE NOT INSPIRED
Uhuh. In fact, most of the time, creatives are not inspired. Creatives who work for a living are doing just that— work. And much of the time, they don't feel a whole lot like getting on with the business of things.
Successful creatives have the discipline to do it anyway.
10. THEY FOCUS ON THEMSELVES
This is a biggie. The people who are really successful? They're not focused on what other people are doing. Often, they have no idea what other people are doing— they're just doing what they think is interesting, and exciting, and sometimes it fails, and sometimes it's incredibly successful.