Being Highly Sensitive and Consistently Creative

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Lately I've been gaining new appreciation for how important it is to have a good pace and routine when working on creative projects.

Every day I've been editing a little bit of  How I Learned to Plan as an INFP. Using the GoodTime app for Android, I work on my book for 11 minutes. Then I take a five minute break. Then I work on it for another 11 minutes. I know that doesn't seem like much, but I've been amazed by the impact of working this way.

During my five minute break I plan my next move, wash dishes, daydream, and water the withering kale, spinach, and arugula plants on my porch. I have a history of killing plants. The spinach isn't doing so great, but the arugula and kale have been edible. I water the plants a little every day, and as I watch them grow, I grow hungry for the results.

Much like my plants, I'm updating my book at a steady pace, watering it a little at a time. Working with little chunks of time has enabled me to edit better. I've also discovered that I get more done when I work daily for around 30 minutes instead of working for hours whenever I have the free time.

If you're working on a project and find that you're struggling with making progress, set aside 10 to 20 minutes daily to work on it and see what happens. You might be surprised by what you can do.

After my session is over, I celebrate with some Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea and dark chocolate. I've been on the hunt for good decaff tea that reminds me of chai. Sometimes I enjoy homemade iced coffee, but I need to figure out how to reduce the caffeine content (#HSPProblems) so until that happens, it's tea for now.

I used to brush off the idea of rewarding myself for what I do, especially if it's something small. However, after a few weeks of celebrating these little victories daily, I found that I looked forward to doing my work sessions even more. I keep a list of simple and inexpensive rewards. Tea/coffee and chocolate are my favorites, but taking a nap and enjoying nature are also on the list.

I feel that it's about time I've learned to create at a pace that's healthy, sustainable, and respects my sensitivity. This is very different from how I worked five years ago when I was drawing over 4 comic pages a week! I got a lot done, but I have to admit, the creative burn out has taken a toll.

One book that has really helped me with pacing myself  is Sustainable Creativity by Micheal Nobbs. It's a free ebook that I highly recommend reading.

So currently, to create on a regular basis and keep a healthy level of engagement, I:

1. Work. For about 11 minutes or so.
2. Break. I take 5 minutes to do whatever.
3. Work again. For another 11 minutes.
4. Reward. After the session is over, I reward myself.

I've been doing this every day for the past two months. Maybe eventually I'll increase the time limit, but I like to work on my projects in the morning, and it's easy to fit in 20 minutes of writing before I go to my job.

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