I've always maintained the belief that creativity begets creativity. Writing, painting, composing... it doesn't matter the form. One creative act leads to ideas for at least two more. Most of the time I would claim to be engaged in creative work on pretty much a daily basis. Most often it is writing, but I've been known to draw a picture, pick out a tune on the piano, experiment with recipes or take photographs all with that same satisfied-at-having-created-something feeling.
I also enjoy spending time doing more rote, logistical type things that I've come to think of as creativity fueling. I enjoy being busy, productive, and there are certain tasks that I know I can turn to when my mind needs time to process its more unruly thoughts. I am delighted by spreadsheets, for instance, and I take pride in the management systems I have created with them to aid my work with the farmers market or in managing the billing and bookkeeping for my husband's law office practice. I suppose the act of generating a good spreadsheet is creative, but the act of using a good spreadsheet is incredibly satisfying (especially if you are confident of all of the mathematical functions because you placed them there yourself for reasons you fully understand). I place a number here, and it calculates this, that, and another.
Sometimes my creative mode turns more habitual, however, and I come to the realization that I've not so much been creating as going through the motions simply because I think of myself as a creating kind of person. Perhaps I am writing the same words in a different tense, or putting them to paper in cursive rather than print. Maybe I have turned to doodling for the sake of filling blank space. Or I am serving the same dish meal after meal and forgetting what everything tastes like. Sometimes I am so practiced at what I do that I can fall into the habit of work without really feeling the satisfaction of actually having created something.
It is interesting to look back at my life and see these patterns of actively and passively engaging with the creative process, and the pattern of falling into ruts (usually caused by finding a pattern that works so well I never want it to end). When I was younger, I was more prone to get caught up in the fear of changing things, but now I've almost come to the point of looking forward to those moments. I might recognize that I am getting stuck in a groove, but am more content than I used to be to wait for the right moment. I'm less likely to feel the need to hang on to actions or routines because they once worked. Situations change. I change. My creative process changes. Sometimes I have to do something different in order to move forward and move my creative life to a place of greater satisfaction.
It may be that I've come to anticipate those changes so much that the knowledge that they are coming is enough to fuel a resurgence of creativity. The hubby and I had an idea last week. It was a big idea, for us. An idea that would involve a new house and a new business. I don't know where that idea is going to go, or if it is going to go at all, but I have felt that opening of my mind. I'm ready for change. I'm ready to switch up my routine in a bigger than usual way.
Just the idea of making this move has resulted in an flurry of creative energy. It's infused my market work, my law office work, and my writing. I've got more ideas on the plate than I have room for, but I'm happy that way. I'm coming to the end of each day exhausted and satisfied. I'm excited about that open state of mind, the feeling that anything is possible, and whatever it ends up being, it will be good.