Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Random Thoughts on the Creative Process



I've spent the last few months hitting on my creative process here and there. I've spent them trying to boil down where my ideas start and how I work them out for some sort of semblance of an end. I've really enjoyed the conversations it's sparked and the awareness I've grown as these details were documented. But, just as I settled in to all the way that I make, everything changed.

I opened the shop and messed up the writing routine that I was growing comfortable and cozy in. I have spent evenings alternating between paint and pen. My thoughts are not so much about word counts, but revolve around listings and stats and the next set of quotes waiting in the column of my bullet journal (because that's still the way I'm finding myself organized).

In these changes and fluctuations, I've come up with four new (but not completely novel) observations about my creative process. Observations that I do believe could be relevant and important to your own journey of making.

1. ROUTINE IS GOOD. FLEXIBILITY IS GREAT.
Like I said above, things change. Circumstances, commitments, creative endeavors change over and over again. Each day you could wake up with a new idea or task to conquer than yesterday held. That's the point of the process and it's valuable. So be flexible. But also hold on to a routine. Hold on the essence of routine while changing your tasks like you do your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but maintain the point (in this case, satiating your hunger).

The point is this: use the same concept under different circumstances.

A very practical example of this was switching over from writing the book (which is still in the works if you're wondering what happened) to opening the shop. It shifted me from typing and working through things on Word to painting and writing on paper. I've enjoyed the change in medium, but working to meet a daily word count or editing a specific number of pages is, in fact, irrelevant. However, I must continue to move forward in my process of painting so I started a sketch journal in which I paint, write, draw every day.

2. CONSUMPTION MATTERS.
I used to think if I was scrolling through beautiful art on Instagram I'd be as good as gold. I thought if I got a book from the library that challenged me I'd be destined for better writing. But the feed was disheartening my own aesthetic and the book made me dread that time I spend reading in the evenings. So, I ditched them. I ditched them and tried something new.

I varied my feed and my request list from our library. I didn't waste time looking at art that frustrated me, but instead invested seconds in scrolling through a beautifully curated account of abstract art. I didn't push myself through a book that was boring me to death because there are a million more options out there.

Don't eat empty inspiration. You don't subsist on cupcakes alone (but if you do invite me over because we were made to be friends). And neither will your creativity. Empty inspiration won't bring out the best in your process because someone else said it's pretty or worthwhile.

3. YOU NEED STUFF THAT'S JUST YOURS.
We all understand the importance of Me Time. We know that space and time for yourself is key to sanity. But we don't always apply that elsewhere. We don't think about the way we're making and writing and there isn't any "off time" for our process. There's no book or journal or stack of blank pages that holds our sacred practice, the pieces of us that are unpolished and unprepared, but have a goal of one day being beautiful and public.

So, find a surface where you can create in private. Know that you're not made to be forever in the public eye, but that quiet spaces for your art (whether writing or drawing or painting or otherwise) are important, vital, even process-promoting and life-giving.

4. THINK OF YOURSELF AS A CURATOR.
This sounds mad. I know, sounds like madness. But this is my favorite point on this list. You're in charge of your life -what's in it, what doesn't make it, what's loved and what's hated. Think of your mind like a Pinterest board or Instagram feed. Our minds are our greatest inspiration boards, so it's important to know what your aesthetic looks like?

My guess is some of us are based in black and white, others are white backgrounds with bright objects to draw attention, and more still have a modge podge of randomness. All of these are allowed, but realize this: you're in charge of what's there. Mine happens to look like this as of late:
watercolor flowers | bouquet | wild and free | you are loved | rosemary mule


The trickiest part of inspiration is realizing that something doesn't fit... I mean, putting that board together for this post was like WHOA.

Now it's time for you to share your greatest creative
 revelation of the past few months. 

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