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Organizing Creative Chaos

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Lately I’ve been feeling a little scattered. I’m in that “in-between” stage of the creative process—some of my projects are wrapping up while others are waiting to be explored. This is a place that sometimes leaves me feeling antsy, because I’m eager to jump into the “next big thing” before officially finishing my current endeavours.

It’s in this funky feeling where I’m reminded of the importance of patience. Or maybe more accurately, acceptance. “Slow down”, I tell myself. “Breathe. There’s always enough time.”

My current to-do list is a conglomeration of random goals. I want to continue posting to the blog, and finish this semester of college. I need to declutter and organize the house, and donate the kids’ old clothes. Sometime I need to finish painting (and installing) the bedroom trim, and create new videos and record new meditations. And I’d really like to begin my next collection of fine paintings, and film the process. Oh, and also, I want to brainstorm novel ideas and try my hand at writing fiction. Etc, etc…

I think it’s safe to say that sometimes, it’s the list itself that’s overwhelming despite the fact that I’m excited for each individual to-do. It’s not a matter of lacking inspiration or motivation—it’s feeling as though there will never be enough time.

Time. The bane of the human existence, right?
But what if we befriended the unknown and allowed our intuition to guide us forward? Hmm… 

When I’m in this place of overwhelm, and my mind feels too stimulated with all the options, I try to let go. I literally, physically exhale and imagine an empty space pushing away all the thoughts cramming my head. Then, I remind myself that while I love to juggle multiple projects at once, I can only work on one single thing at any given time. I can start and stop and switch from one project to another, but I can’t create in two places at once.

Recognizing this simplifies my stress and helps me to get into a mind-space that feels lighter. Then, I’m free to invite one, maybe two of those to-dos on my list back into my focus. Usually, when I’ve calmed myself down, they find me easily. It suddenly becomes obvious that I can’t manage eight ideas at once, and I’d actually prefer to prioritize certain ideas over others. I suddenly remember how good it feels to actually finish and cross those ideas off my list when they’re completed.

Getting clear, writing that to-do list down, offering space in my cluttered mind, and inviting the most relevant inspirations back into focus is how I navigate these moments. But, I also can’t forget to mention the importance of creating for the sake of creating.

Don’t forget what you love about your artsy, creative, passionate self—it’s soothing and healing and inspiring. You know that feeling I’m talking about, when you lose yourself in an idea and you’re fueled by the thrill of creating something with your own hands and mind. It’s cleansing, to say the least, and it feels like coming home to yourself.

So, oftentimes before I even do the work to reset my overwhelmed mind, I give myself permission to do something not on my list. Something I want to do just because I want to. For me, that often looks like baking or scrapbooking or singing in the shower. Something just for me, or for those I love. I always feel so much better after giving myself this creative freedom and the next day, I’m usually ready to reproach my (now-organized) to-do list.

All of this is hopefully to offer you validation: if you’re a creative maniac like me with a million exciting ideas, and you’re overwhelmed with all the mental clutter, take a breath. You’ve got this! Slow down, and prioritize your most compelling projects. Then go create something random, something small just for you. When you wake up the next day, you’ll be in a healthier mindset to tackle your most relevant projects.

And remember—there’s always time when you organize the clutter and get clear on what it is you want most. There’s always time. Enjoy the ride as it unfolds before you.

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