Creativity for Introverts is a self-care zine series for those seeking balance, confidence, and general understanding of what it means to be quiet and creative. This series is focused not just on introverts and finding their creative calling, but primarily on working with your unique energy levels to balance your time and efforts.
Each zine comes with a supplementary exercise, but very few of them will require readers to be social, take big steps, or make large changes in their lives. Most simply require thought and attention to certain aspects of your creative lifestyle. Perfect for introverts!
Below, find a brand new, not-in-any-of-the-zines exercise that may help you in your creative journey whether or not you are an introvert. You can view this as a sample of the type of stuff you’ll find in the zines, or you can just take it for what it is and try something new!
Exercise: Week of Silence
I have no doubt that (especially as a reader of zines) you have come across the iLife vs Real Life arguments. There are tons of them, and no one can come to any consensus. Recently I found there have been a slew of articles stating that spending every second on your cell phone actually kills creativity because boredom is so useful. Whatever you think or believe about these topics, I’m going to challenge you to do something you may not like.
The purpose of this exercise is not to convince you one way or another about media exposure, cell phone use, or frequency of social network use. That’s all personal to your preferences, and I’m not trying to illustrate how your life might be better without them. Instead, approach this as a way to observe yourself, and to try to understand the differences between your natural reaction and your active response.
Aside from what is required for your life (such as job duties), I want you to stop using the Internet, your cell phone, and any other media device for extraneous purposes. What I mean by that is that if you need to use your cell phone to make plans or chat with your mother, that’s fine, but if you’re using it to look up something or see if you have any texts or share something that just happened (or that is currently happening), don’t. What in your life can wait a few weeks? Those TV shows or movies you’re watching all the time on streaming services will probably still be there when this is over.
Give yourself time to show up for yourself. It’s possible that these are not part of your life, that you’ve already made a pledge, found these stimulus wrong for your lifestyle, or never got into it to begin with. That’s pretty cool, but it just means you’ll have to find something different to eliminate if you want to participate!
Give yourself time to eliminate the three most obvious factors that might be keeping you from your creativity. Don’t know what those three factors are? That’s okay! Maybe you won’t realize it until your week of silence is over.
Now, I’m not going to give you a time frame, but I’d suggest doing at least a week (two if you can handle it). Things to think about during and after your weeks of silence:
- Anxiety levels. Not just whether they are higher or lower, but what specifically gave you anxiety about this at the beginning, and is it still giving you anxiety at the end?
- Forms of gratification. Were you still interested only in instant gratification, and if so, how did you satisfy that desire? Did you start any new projects that might end up being much more long-term? How does what you did during this time make you feel vs picking up your phone (or watching TV, etc.)?
- State of mind. Did you notice any major differences in how you were thinking? Did you seek to find a way to ignore what was on your mind, or did the absence of these influences allow you to be more present?
- Longing. What did you miss, and why did you miss it? For example, if you missed Facebook, did you miss it because you missed talking with your friends? Or was it simply because you felt like you hadn’t checked it yet and it was part of your routine?
Throughout your experience with this exercise, try to determine what your Top 3 Distractions really are: things that are keeping you from your creativity. Again, I don’t mean the very general “cell phone use” or “getting online.” Maybe your top 3 distractions are “using my cell phone to refresh Twitter,” “getting online to watch cat videos,” and “getting online to browse Tumblr.”
I think that we tend to place blame where it shouldn’t go. The issue isn’t necessarily simply the fact that you’re getting online: you could be getting online to do something productive, like reading, finding inspiration, soaking in others’ beautiful artwork, or creating something of your own. “Getting online” need not be the issue. In this example, the issues are Twitter, Tumblr, and cat videos.
Once you have found your Top 3 Distractions, keep note of them (mentally or on sticky paper next to your desk, do whatever works best for you). Carry them with you as a reminder so that next time you’re doing that activity, you are already aware that it might be something you’re using as a distraction to get some work done on your latest art project.