*8Things: Your Creative Rhythm

8things from Magpie Girl

One of the more challenging parts of living a creative life is discovering your best working rhythm. We all have a work pattern that suits our energy levels and nurtures us with alternating periods of work and rest, gathering and creating.

I have spent plenty of time trying to force myself into a “productive” work routine that ended up being anything butproductive, simply because it didn’t match my natural habits. Like lifecoach Jena Strong always says, “It’s all about function.”  That’s why this week’s  *8Things is all about uncovering your creative patterns. The rhythm is already there, you just have to pull off the blanket and see what is there waiting for you.

How do you like to work? When do you like to start, how long it takes for you to get into the flow, do you like to work in silence or with music? Your intuitive voice will help access the information you need to uncover a work rhythm that supports your creative pursuits. Write down *8Things you know about Your Creative Rhythm and put them in the comments below or grab a button and play along by putting a permalink to your post in the list below.

Special thanks to this week to Sarah and at Creative Lessons who gave me the idea for this *8Things list; to Jen Lee for her excellent “Making Soup” metaphor about the ebb and flow of the creating process; and to Dee Wilcox at the Creative Perch for sharing this *8Things list with a wider audience. Thanks for being here!

Rachelle’s *8Things: Creative Rhythm

1. Embrace Your BioRhythm: There is no point in me trying to write before noon. I do administrative work in the morning in my PJ’s, shower after lunch, the get to writing.
2. Manage Your Downloads:  Just because I have a huge download of creative ideas doesn’t mean I have to do them all at once. I can suppress the hyper-mania if I remember they’ll keep.
3. Know Your Tender Spots:After announcing a project or sending it out to the world I’m virtually guaranteed to have a bout of self-doubt and insecurity. I enlist help.
4. Trouble Shoot Your Wheel of Work Weak Spots:  I like generating ideas and starting things. I’ m not so good with the middle and the finish. During that part of the a project I have to write out an hour by hour daily schedule to get it DONE.
5. Don’t Isolate:  I live abroad and work at home — so seeing another adult IN REAL LIFE at least once a week is imperative!
6. Know What You Need:  It’s true, I’m a feedback whore. I like immediate reaction to what I’m working on. Thus, I blog.
7. What’s Your Addiction of Choice?: Facebook and Twitter I can manage, YouTube and Hulu suck me in like a black hole
8. Your Nutrional Needs. Must. Have. Input. Artists dates are a must. I try to go to a gallery, garden, or performance once a month.

Grow your gratitude. Live Satisfied. Join us on Facebook for our weekly *8things roundup.

Storytellerdoc November 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm


Started my own blog today and am cruising through other blogs to get a feel. Thanks, your’s was inspiring and organized.

Tracie November 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Okay. I have 10 million obligations today but I want to do this. I am going to try tonight after I put the kids to bed.

rowena November 20, 2009 at 5:56 am

1. work when it works (I write in the morning, blog while kids are eating lunch, do business while the little one naps, paint whenever I can catch a spot in time)
2. let go of perfection (whether in the creative work or in the self.)
3. take baby steps.
4. plan it out (keep focus on where you want to go by tracking the steps you need to get there)
5. take care of the real world. (eat, sleep, health, home, finances, kids, etc)
6. trust your voice.
7. commit, commit, commit.
8. and jump. just do it.

Jo November 20, 2009 at 11:11 am

Y’know…I have none. And THAT is why I get so little done. My days are always so different: work/no work, nursery/no nursery, partner home/away, mother sick/healthy. I know everyone deals with the same things in different disguises so I’m fascinated to know what answers people bring out for you here.

Rachelle November 20, 2009 at 11:59 am


One of the things that helped me with this came from a spiritual direction client. She said, “You know, I keep making out these schedules for how I will work when there is a normal week. Then I realzied if all my weeks are ‘not a normal week’ I may have to re-think my definition of normal.”

Once I figured out a few things about my natural rhythm…like that I really cannot write before noon…then on days when there is no childcare in the afternoon I just know I’m not going to be able to write that day. It helped me struggle less with the inconsistency by resisting less. I bake with the kids, or try to snap a few photos instead. Or hell, even just fold the laundry! At least that way THOSE things aren’t taking up my time when the kids finally go back to nursery and I can get back to my writing again.

If that makes you want to throw a book at my head, it’s okay I understand. I know what you are doing is SUPER challenging. It does get easier as the kids get older. Like Jen Lemen says, “Whatever you do, hold on to hope, that this is not the end of your story. Change will bring you to peaceful shores.”



P.s. You are probably getting a lot more done than you think you are!

Deborah VanDetta November 21, 2009 at 8:35 am

Did it! Finally! This *8 Things was really helpful for me to think about my process and ways to improve it. I spent today re-organizing my studio, moving stuff around in my bookcase to reflect my current priorities. Volunteering went down; beads went to eye level, and I am so much happier from such a simple change.

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