Organized Creativity?

Sometimes life is like filling a bucket, and other times you’re a lit fire.

(paraphrasing Yeats)

I’ve been enjoying the first months of 2015. Yes, I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of a truly fiercesome homeschooling burnout. But by recognizing that and taking time away from Should and her twin sister Ought, I’ve made space for good things in my life.

I’m a project-based personality. You want me to help you with an event (no matter how big), rather than ask me to be the dependable person who holds the keys for opening up each day and does the filing. Oh, I can do those things. I will just slowly grow to hate them and have no pleasure in that sort of quiet predictability in my work.

But life is both predictable obligation and fantastic projects, so how to manage it all? How do you fill the bucket while you’re on fire? And how do you reignite the flame when you’re struggling to carry heavy buckets?

A few things hit my radar at just the right point this year. The first was an idea from Yoga Journal. In a piece about about turning passion into a passionate career, the author wrote about focusing on three. For each week ask yourself, “What are three big things I could do to move forward?” Each day, try to pick three small steps that move those three big things forward.

I’ve not managed to do this consistently or, better said, rigourously. For me, the real benefit has been in having the questions. “What can I do to move my dream forward today?” is a great question. For one thing, it reminds me to work at it. For another, it’s a forgiving and realistic question. Given the time, energy, and headspace I have, what can I do today?

These three things can be little. They can be obvious. Some days my three things include “browse Ravelry” and “knit”. I learn a lot from looking at what other people are doing and how they are doing it, and connecting with people online is a big part of that research. Knitting, well, that’s the spark to the fire for this design passion, isn’t it?

The contest for A Playful Day’s Designalong came just as I had signed up for a small business course. That month was jammed to the max with idea after idea, and realization after realization.

It was all a lot to handle, and I was starting to think that I would go mad with all the slips of paper with To Do lists and ideas jotted down on them. What if I misplaced one? I have tried to go digital, but it just won’t jive with my process. Apparently, my thoughts are analog. That’s when I started to realize that a lot of people in my online life seemed to be talking about Bullet Journals.  I checked it out, expecting a System that I would have to fit.  Instead, it’s almost ridulously intuitive and straight-forward. Bullet journals are a perfect blend of daily lists and themed lists, with a super simple mechanism for making sure items don’t get lost.


I’ve got three books – a bullet journal, a sketch book for designs, and a notebook for writing out what I’m doing as I knit a design. The last two live with my knitting, the bullet journal comes with me everywhere.  And I can sketch in it and make notes in it, too, and then transfer things when I have time.

Right now, these seem to be a perfect balance: asking questions that get me in a headspace to move forward creatively, and finding ways to track all the answers.  How do you manage to manage it?


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