Creativity & Rest

Recently I’ve been trying to navigate the concept of rest, and the balance of work and rest. Which might sound like a really silly thing to be having trouble with, but I have a tendency to struggle with balance and prioritization when it comes to projects and things to do… even if the thing to do is rest. So today I thought I’d discuss some ways that authors and other artists can rest and refill their creativity, and why rest is important in the first place.

The Importance of Rest

Despite what current culture might imply, we were not designed to go-go-go all the time. From the time of creation, God set aside time for rest. We see in Mark 2 that the sabbath is not meant to be a strict restriction from any possible work, but that “The Sabbath was made for man.” The sabbath rest was made for our benefit, because we need rest.

This is true in a general sense as well as in the specific context of creativity. I have mixed feelings about the saying that “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” but when it comes to creativity that’s a fairly true statement. Without new experiences and new media intake and new concepts you’re learning, you won’t be able to create new content; those new experiences and concepts, filtered through your unique worldview and creativity, are what fuel creation. When it comes to creativity, intake is just as important as output.

Sometimes creative rest just means taking a break from creating so that you can focus on living and refilling your creativity.

But actual rest is also important. Not only do you need rest from creating; you also need full mental (and sometimes emotional) rest. Sometimes instead of watching a movie or having a discussion with a friend, you need to instead take a walk in the woods or listen to worship music.

Keep both types of rest in mind. It might take some trial and error to figure out which type of rest you need at a given time, but differentiating will become easier the more and the longer you pay attention. Whichever you need, try to prioritize activities that will keep you rested and refilled on a regular basis. (Prioritizing rest is the hardest part for me.)

Ideas for Creative Refueling

  • Watch a movie/TV show
  • Read a book
  • Have a discussion with a friend
  • Visit someplace new (even just a new coffee shop or bookstore)
  • Do a fun writing/art exercise
  • Create a Pinterest board
  • Sit and people-watch

Ideas for Mental Rest

  • Listen to music
  • Go for a walk
  • Stargaze/cloudwatch/sunbathe
  • Do something physical (garden, crochet, build something, etc.)
  • Take a nap
  • Take a bubble bath/take a shower/wash your face/etc.
  • Listen to running water/nature sounds

I’m Taking a Break…

I have a tendency to accumulate a lot of projects in December as I’m trying to wrap up the past year and prepare for the new year, and this year I’ve realized that it’s just too much.

I had planned posts for all of this month, on both of my main blogs, but I’ve decided to relax my posting schedule. I’d still like to post a couple of times on each blog (I have a couple of specifically seasonal posts), but I’ll be taking weeks off. It’ll be sort of an incomplete hiatus. So if you don’t see posts from me, I haven’t dropped off the blogosphere. I’m just resting, lol.

And in the future, I intend to take more complete hiatuses for the holiday season as a means of resting and recharging before the new year.

But back to you. What are your favorite ways to rest? Do you find rest comes easily or do you find it difficult to prioritize?

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