One of the benefits of choosing an assisted living lifestyle is that you have more free time. And this free time can let you start working on all the creative projects you couldn’t do in the past. However, you might find that when you have so much time, it can be difficult to know where to start. So we’ve put together four tips to help you achieve your creative goals.
The notorious blank canvas is every creative's first hurdle. The daunting yet beautiful emptiness waiting to be filled is so difficult to destroy, but if you want to create, you have to.
Most painters know they have to fill the white canvas as soon as possible, so they create a wash and tone the canvas with big swatches of color. These washes are not necessarily "good" and will likely never be seen by the painting's audience, but the painter knows they have to just start or they’ll never get anywhere. Visual art instructors often tell their struggling students, “you’re trying to finish before you start.”
You can apply this mentality to any creative pursuit. In writing, you have to put words on the page even if they aren’t perfect. With music, you have to layout the basic song structure before you can start working on the finer points of composition.
It’s easy to get trapped by perfectionism and try to make the first draft a masterpiece, but no one can do that. Tolkien didn’t just write Lord of the Rings front cover to back, Michealangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel in one layer right to left like a dot-matrix printer and Beethoven didn’t write moonlight sonata in one real-time improvisation. If they tried to finish before they started, they would never start.
2. Creating a Workspace
Having a physical space that’s designated for creative work can help you get into the creative headspace consistently. What this space looks like to you is completely dependent on your creative work style. Where an abstract artist may be most at home in a pile of art supplies, sporadically searching for the tool they need, a more type-A blog writer may need an organized space with all their supplies neatly lined up and findable. The important thing is to find what works best for you.
If you worked a more standard nine-to-five job before you retired, you may feel most comfortable leaving your personal space to work. In this case, finding somewhere to be your creative “office” will likely work better than setting up a workspace in your room. Here are some options for working in En plein air:
• Coffee shops and diners. This option is great if you like snacking or sipping coffee while you work.
• The park or garden. Weather has a role in this option, so it probably can’t be a year round office. However, when the climate cooperates, working outdoors can be very nice.
• The library. Libraries can be great work spots as they provide a quiet environment. You may need to make an appointment to secure a work period at your local library, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
• The assisted living community. Autumn View Gardens provides lifestyle amenities like a computer center you can work in. You can also work on the serene grounds when the weather is nice.
For bigger creative projects, having a good game plan can help you stay on track and finish. The important thing is to make goals that are attainable. If you try for too much, you’ll be disheartened, but if you make doable goals, you get a sense of accomplishment with each one you complete. And that little boost of serotonin helps you push on.
How you make goals is individualistic. A time-based plan with deadlines works well if you want to complete your project by a specific time. Whereas a habit based plan, like trying to work a set amount each day, is better if you just want to spend more time enjoying your creative hobby.
Creative work is taxing on your brain, so you need to fuel up to get the most out of your work session. Eating an overall balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is the best thing for maintaining creative energy. If you’re feeling lethargic or fatigued, consider consulting a nutritionist for a diet plan to improve your energy levels. Also, physical exercise can boost your mental and creative energy. Just make sure to get the all clear from your medical provider before you make big changes to your lifestyle.
At Autumn View Gardens, we want residents to be able to pursue whatever makes them happy. So, if you need anything to help with your creative projects, be sure to ask the caring staff for assistance.