Getting through the day, every day, is a trick.

Either you are energetic or you aren’t. Your daily cadence and the management of your energy throughout your day, is on of the most important pillars of your creative life. If you are tired you may still be able to be creative, but your output and optimism will suffer. You have got to find what works for you. And perhaps what’s working for you now, youth and hopefulness, might fade over the years and you will have to find other circuits for your “juice.”

Here are a few of the things that can provide energy:

  • Coffee
  • Getting enough reset
  • Inspiration
  • A good conversation with a friend
  • A burning desire
  • Love
  • Angst
  • Raw fruit juices
  • Fasting
  • Running
  • Meditating
  • Sex
  • Swimming
  • Paleo diet
  • Sugar
  • A relationship
  • Loneliness
  • New love
  • A melody
  • Collaboration
  • Experiencing another artist’s joy
  • A found word, object, melody, image
  • Correspondence with another artist
  • Imagining your on success
  • Vitamins
  • Drugs
  • Not enough sleep
  • Dancing
  • Going for a walk
  • Playing a sport
  • Winning at a sport or game
  • An imaginary structure for your creative work (a series, a triptych, a musical)
  • Praise
  • A like-minded friend
  • Activism
  • A burning desire to tell your story
  • The perfect slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day

All of these things, or the lack of these things, can influence your daily energy. And the trajectory of your daily rush, the blood sugar coursing through your veins, gives the power (or lack of power) to drive your creative vision forward. A lot of your task in life is to figure out how to light your own locomotive engine inside and then keep it stoked and roaring down the tracks. And also learning what puts out, or disspates the fire, momentum, rush towards the light at the other end of the tunnel.

If you are only rushing down the tracks to achieve fame, you’ve got a long tunnel ahead, indeed. But if you are making art that you believe in, the act of creating itself becomes the track, and the tunnel, and the light at the other end. If you are creating out of an inner fire and inner need to create you can regulate your burn rate and consumption more carefully. You can set your sights on the next station in your mind, and celebrate your own victory at each passing station.

Live is a very long trip. Finding what supports your energy is one of the most important tasks you can master. You can then choose to use different “juices” to different effects. Sometimes burning the candle on both ends is what will serve your idea. Sometimes getting to bed by ten and arising to create by 5:30 in the morning is what will get your vision further along the path.

Build your grand central station of art to yourself. When other visitors come through, let them be amazed at your ingenuity and flair. But don’t slow down too much to listen to the praise or critics. Grab a handful of the fuel of your day and get back on the tracks towards your next creation. It is through this forward momentum, and daily management of your fuel, that you can sustain your creative work throughout your lifetime.

Find your juice. Support your energy. Do the work.

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John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

supportive references:

image: full of energy!, vinoth chandar, creative commons usage

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