Someone once asked me, “how do you balance staying creative and ensuring you are creating things, whilst also trying to study?”
I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently and honestly, most of my insides are screaming at me, don’t answer this question, you wouldn’t know the first thing about staying creative and studying! Because if I’m honest with you all, not only am I the Manager of Procrastination Station, I also have this rather frustrating inability to focus on more than one activity at once. Despite my tendency to focus on completing all my essays and then simply binge-watching anything that’s on Disney Channel, I do tend to remain creative, and create art throughout my University semester (when I’m not completely exhausted). These, are some of the ways I keep both studying and being creative prevalent features in throughout my University semester.
Step 1. Make a plan!
It’s so boring, I know! In fact all throughout senior year in high school, when we had to create plans to hand in each week to prove to our teachers we were studying long and hard enough, I always made random crap up! Now, I swear by making plans! I’m not too strict with them but I have a little board in my room that tells me when my classes are on, what days I have off, when I’m hanging out with friends, when my next doctor appointment is and so forth. This way, every morning when I wake up I know exactly what I have to do, where I have to be and ultimately, what days I have free so I can fit some creative stuff in. It may seem odd and the opposite of ‘creative spontaneity’ but honestly, if I know what days I have totally free, I can find an open space, do some yoga and meditation and fall into creating art.
Step 2. Get Inspired!
This goes for both your study and your creativity! If I’m inspired by my degree, then I get through the work quicker and that means, I get to allow my creative spirit to run free. Of course, we aren’t always inspired by our degrees because there comes a point (usually after week 2 or 3) when those twelve different readings, those three major essays and that one group project where half the group isn’t even interested in participating, has you breaking apart at your seams. Alas, around this time I usually search TED Talks and do my own research in relation to topics I enjoy that are about Social Work. If they don’t work, I write down all the possibilities that this degree could lead to and that usually helps keep me inspired and motivated to keep knocking down those essays, so I can make time to create art.
Inspiring myself to be creative is much easier I usually either hop on Tumblr and search some art pieces and poems, or I just start drawing/painting/creating/sewing-whatever I feel like could work out in the moment.
Step 3. Just because you aren’t making art, doesn’t mean you aren’t creating!
When I’m not studying, I don’t always feel like sewing or painting something so sometimes, I binge watch one tree hill or watch a new movie or read an entire book in a day. Sometimes I do none of those and so I journal or get outside or meditate. I’m not necessarily creating art, but just because you aren’t doing things that you think define what it means to be creative, doesn’t mean you aren’t creating! Your life is art, everything you do; reading, writing, exploring, watching the rain, singing-it’s all creating a memory in your life.
I know, I know, it’s so cliche and so corny, but God knows it’s so damn true.
Step 4.Take breaks from study
Not in the mood to study? Write a story. Don’t want to read that last reading just yet? Sew that patch on your jeans that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Just plain exhausted from study? Take a break; paint, draw, write, do whatever you do to create art.
Step 5: Ensure you always have at least one day in the week, to yourself
This tip connects back to that first tip that is ‘oh so boring’ and make a plan. Whilst you make that plan, ensure that you have at least one day during the week to yourself. No study. No essays. No University related work whatsoever. This way, you have a day to look forward to where you know you have the entire day and night to yourself and you can use that in whatever way you’d like. (Hint: I’d use it to create, since this is what this post is all about).
I still don’t believe I’m the best person to be handing out advice about how to stay creative whilst studying at University. But, I do know that I love both studying and creating art and so, I make time for both.
So I suppose that’s my last tip:
If you love what you do, then making time is never too difficult.