Can you be creative on schedule?

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(Originally written Dec 2017, updated Sept 2019.)

Imagine if you had the ability to tap into your creativity anytime, on demand, and joyfully so!

You would accomplish so much more in your business and life. You could more effectively fulfill your creative mission and calling.

I wish this ability for you. It is a skill that you can develop.

For example, as I'm typing this to you, I'm on a deadline, one that I set for myself.
 If you’re yet uninitiated in joyful productivity, doing creative work against a self-imposed deadline is something you probably avoid. Maybe you think it is unpleasant, constricting, and somehow intuitively “bad” to do something you don’t feel like doing.
And yet, learning how to joyfully create, on schedule, has positively transformed businesses and lives.
The set of feelings experienced by many people during deadlines include:
  • Doubt -- "I can't be creative under deadline!"
  • Perfectionism -- "What if it is not good enough by the deadline?" 
  • Rebellion -- "I hate deadlines... it's so unnatural to the flow of creativity!"
  • Dread -- "Imagine the bad consequences of missing the deadline..."
When it comes to deadlines, these don't have to be your feelings. 
In the realm of potential, there's an alternative set of feelings that we can take on:
  • Safety -- "No matter what happens, I know I'm loved and taken care of."
  • Partnership -- "Spirit, flow how You will through me."
  • Curiosity -- "I wonder what I will produce by the deadline?" :)
  • Excitement -- “GAME ON!”

Over the past 10 years, I've practiced associating self-imposed deadlines with those second set of feelings, the positive states of being.
My content, business, and sense of well-being have thrived as a result.
In the beginning, it required a conscious shift of mindset, day after day, sometimes moment upon moment. Whenever I catch myself with any of the negative feelings, I take a few deep breaths, and aim to immediately shift my thoughts to that second set of positive feeling until I start to feel them. 
It is a practice. And with practice, you can become anything you want, even habituating a behavior that was very much outside your comfort zone.
You can change what you believe to be your "natural flow". Your intentional behavior or feelings can become the new normal for you. 
It is possible to create... even to be in your flow of genius... while on a self-decided deadline. If you prefer, you can change that word to "lifeline" or “geniusline” :)
Not only is it possible -- with continuous practice, it becomes one of your superpowers.
Imagine being able to joyfully tap into your genius on demand! You can channel your creative muse in an instant, anytime you want. 
It is easier for your creative muse if she knows when (as in what time of day or week) you will consistently call upon her. Or to use a more scientific analogy: your circadian rhythm works best when you do your creative work at the same time everyday.
In other words -- and here may be the dreaded prescription for you -- you can reliably create on a schedule.
For most of my life, I rebelled against this idea.
Remember the negative (first) set of feelings I listed above? Those were my normal thoughts whenever I "had" to produce a piece of writing, or whenever something important had to get done on a schedule. I would rebel!
This is why I became my own boss -- so I never had to follow a schedule again, right? 

Think again :)
As a self-employed service provider, I discovered that the more stable my schedule is, the more good things consistently happened in my business...
  • ...the more my current clients trusted & respected me
  • ...the more creative output I shared with the world
  • ...the more consistently word-of-mouth happened
  • ...therefore, the more new client inquiries I consistently received
If you want a more stable income, practice staying with a consistent schedule of creative output.
Remember: You can practice taking on a better set of feelings in relation to a self-imposed deadline (or lifeline!)
Start by re-framing your thoughts from "have to" to "get to" --
  • From: I "have to" write a blog post 
  • To: I "get to" share my thoughts with the world
  • From: I "have to" overcome my shyness
  • To: Because I know I am safe and loved, I "get to" experiment with a different, more expansive way of behaving. 
The thoughts you choose, then lead to your feelings. Breathe into it.
Do creative ideas come to you at random times? Fine -- simply write down those genius ideas, so that you can develop them in your scheduled production time.
Decide on a stable schedule of creation so that your creative muse can partner with you by knowing when to show up consistently. It really is like magic.
Here's the bottom line:
For more stable income, more stable word of mouth, more consistent client inquiries, more consistent creation of your body of work… figure out a stable creation schedule for yourself, based on your energy.
Your creativity can reliably be channeled at your command, on a schedule, so that you have more stability in life & work. Assuming anything less? That would be self-limiting... not who You can be.
You create your habits and lifestyle, and with practice, you can create any new way of being that you can imagine.