Being a creative means that you are in constant chase of “flow” – you know, that state in which you are so absorbed in an activity that nothing else matters. This is the moment when you can create effortlessly. Finding this state of flow is tricky, because it doesn’t just happen every day. You limit the possibility of getting into the flow if your work eats up your daily creativity limit. What can you do to find that ideal flow state again, especially after weeks and weeks of spending all your creativity on your day job? Or thinking you just can’t find enough time?
Before I tell you about my solution, the method that unlocked my creativity in a way that enabled me to publish 9 books in less than 5 years, run a successful blog, and publish interviews on HuffPost with such people as the actor Penn Badgley, DJ Martin Garrix or TV personality Dr. Oz, I have to raise a flag here:
this tool is not about forcing your creativity, it’s about the opposite. That’s what I call a “creativecation,” and below is my recipe for creating a fruitful (and “flow-ful”) getaway.
What does creativecation means?
It’s a creative vacation where you can get away from your life (even for a day), choose an atypical setting, and shut out daily stressors, social media and all distracting factors. You replace these with everything that makes you feel happy, relaxed and recharged, so at the end of the day finally you can focus on your creative work and get into the zone.
I’ve been always good with stimulating my creativity. Finding an outlet for everything I was going through was a life changer for me 11 years ago. The feeling of getting lost in time became my favorite feeling. I did everything to stimulate it: I would close all shutters at 1PM, light 15 candles, and listen to classical music via earphones. It worked and it became my safe place to turn for comfort when I did not get it otherwise.
You can imagine what happened when I lost my appetite for writing back in 2015, when I burned out and experienced PTSD-like symptoms thanks to social media. I am not saying that all creative people experience burn out, but I’m saying that if you use all your creativity in a demanding industry, it can happen. There’s no surprise here. In 2015, I hit rock bottom and had an emotional breakdown brought on by seeing the Word icon on my laptop. I couldn’t even open it or face the writing process at all. I was devastated as hell. Life became very dark for a while, and there was no outlet to express what I was going through.
Then, one day, I found myself on a flight and inspiration struck for some reason. So many words were pouring out of me that I was just hoping that my phone’s battery wouldn’t die. I remember saying, “OMG! I am not broken,” out loud. I was so happy that a spark of creativity had come back. That was the moment when I realized that I can’t be broken; I just needed to understand what unlocked my flow and creativity, and why that always seems to happen during my travels when I can get all my long-time procrastinated-on writing done.
That’s when I started directly testing and analyzing the flow state, and came up with the concept of creativecation.
When I look back at all the interviews I’ve done with creatives, they often say “I am the most creative when I am relaxed.” That make sense! My first creativecation was in Vienna, and my second was in Budapest at a 5-star hotel. Each of them was a totally different experience and stimulated my creativity in different ways: in Vienna, exploring charged me up, and in Budapest, swimming, wellness, and the luxury of room service helped me create a stress-free environment. Both times, I started writing at 8pm, and finished by 1-2am with just short breaks. By the end of the creativecations, I finished writing the end of my 9th book, and I wrote two articles I’d been pushing from week to week.
Let’s see what happens when you stop complaining about not being in a creative mood, and instead you go and trick your creativity. Find at least one day where you focus only on yourself: exclude all stress for the day, be super kind to yourself, and give yourself the things that you know make you happy.
My recipe for a fruitful creativecation in 10 simple steps:
- Focus on you and you alone: To ensure no distractions, make sure you go solo.
- Get out of your usual setting (even better, try leaving town)
- Book a hotel room, or rent an inspiring Airbnb
- Speaking of distractions: put your phone on airplane mode only. No speaking on the phone, no checking social media, no e-mails, no work.
- No stress triggers
- Get inspired: go explore the city or countryside, take pictures, go to an art exhibition, read a book, do whatever gets you inspired
- Recharge: try wellness activities like getting a massage, swimming, exercise, eating well, exploring, doing what makes you happy
- Make sure you don’t make yourself too tired
- No alcohol is allowed
- Set up your environment to stimulate creativity (classical music, candles, cozy slippers, etc.)
A creativecation is a treat: use it that way. No need to overdo it, but definitely try to block out a day or two every few months when you can leave all the stress behind, and can create your ideal, stress-free day that normally doesn’t exist. By the way, you can only do it if you know how you like to start your day, what makes you recharge, and what your creative routine entails. Get started today and mark your first creativecation on your calendar!