The Flow: a euphoric rush of good energy that keeps you inspired, motivated, working fast and diligently. You can’t put down the paintbrush, you can’t lift your eyes from a word document, you’re creating colors and designs that you didn’t even know your brain could produce. It’s epic, flawless. The flow is the holy grail of all creative experiences. It feels like unwrapping every starburst in a pack to find only pinks, or running into someone walking their Dalmatian puppy and the owner letting you snug it. It’s good karma, good luck and a lot of hard work. The flow doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, it is crucial to soak up every second of the heavenly productivity it provides.
Too often I have been in the position in which I find my flow and there is a sudden deluge of distractions. Phone calls from my mother and friends, snapchats from beaus, memes sent from besties half-way around the world, Instagram notifications. Suddenly, I’m remembering I hadn’t gone to the gym today, or eaten a balanced meal. Suddenly, my flow has been paused. Your brain is a lantern and interruptions are moths. Distractions happen to the best of us— I’ve been down three hour rabbit holes of Scientology youtube videos which then of course leads to another hour of me rethinking the world around me. I’ve accidentally binge watched an entire season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and then “lip synced for my life” an entire playlist before realizing its 1 a.m. and I have gotten nothing done. Whatever the distractions may be, it can easy to put down your notebook, your paintbrush, or your camera and give in.
I have found that I often prioritize my creative pursuits behind other things that may not matter as much. It can be easy to do when a part of you still sees your itty bitty, teenie weenie business you have started as a hobby you fell in love with as a child. It’s not and it’s time to reset the mind, and put your flow first.
Friend, roommate and dog lover Hunter Crook is often my biggest distraction and favorite critic. It's nice to go to him when I'm stuck on a part of my painting or to read my blog pre-post.
As a freelance artist, you have to be your own Kris Jenner. Pick your favorite daughter— wait no sorry— tell yourself you’re doing great, hold yourself accountable, find people who want to support you, keep a schedule, keep your finances in order, the list goes on. In order to truly become the artist and Kris Jenner mom manager I want to be, I created a self-help list of ways to protect my flow.
1. Take care of yourself before you start your work. Stretch, eat a balanced meal, pop outside for a bit of Vitamin D. Don't skimp on your morning routine before you get after your work.
2. Control your environment. Make sure its clean, organized and provides a good ambiance. Candles, music, a hot cup of tea and inspiration on the walls keeps me feeling homey and and inspired all at the same time.
3. Put up boundaries with your loved ones. Remind them that your work is important and your time is important. It is your right to tell someone you cannot talk because you’re painting or writing or designing.
4. Put your phone on do not disturb. The notification demons can’t get you if you can’t see them!
5. Give yourself deadlines, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always make them.
6. Take time for breaks to reset and rejuvenate.
7. Don’t force the flow. Burnout is miserable. Work hard, but let it come naturally. If a project isn’t kicking, find a new task, ask for help, look for a new environment.