I stopped talking about creative process almost six months ago. It was about the same time I switched from writing all the time to balancing between paint and words. It was when I volunteered for life to surprise me by opening the shop and the doors that came with it. And, whoa.
There's a lot to say about changing up your creative endeavors -even if you're simply switching back to something you grew up loving. There's even more to say when you jump from a creative process that feels mastered (which is just a feeling and not a fact) to a new and strange attempt at making.
The last few weeks have been full of new opportunities and a drive to be further engaged with other creatives. It's led me to join new Facebook groups, to seek out creative and small business podcasts, to read books about what it means to be a maker. All of it has drawn me from within my safe studio space and into a greater context of art (and writing and blogging and speaking).
It's made creativity into a community rather than a silent realm of my life.
And in hearing, digesting, engaging with new concepts and creative endeavors I've come up with deeper feelings about what comprises the creative process. And the first one is a severe disagreement with one popular opinion about how creativity can run out, can be lost, can leave us before it's realized. No, go away with those thoughts.
Creativity is not scarce. It is not moody or broody or willing to walk away from you. It is not a finicky fairy angry about your choices or your office space or the amount of time you have available in any given day. It is not a tenuous relationship that needs constant pruning and maintaining and romancing. It isn't a lover that will leave you because you haven't got the looks and the sense of humor you once had.
Creativity is a muscle. Sometimes it's strong and brave and willing to lift the heavy weight of hard work. Sometimes it's weak and mellow and wishing to stay in bed for the day. Sometimes it's lean and stretched and operating at capacity. Sometimes it's covered in a layer of adipose tissue that keeps it hidden from view. But like muscle, it's always a part of you -an undeniable and vital bit of your person.
Framing creativity as part of your DNA allows for freedom in your process. It promises the opportunity of growing stronger, gaining momentum, and moving forward. It turns your inspiration into fuel, instead of into pressure. It opens vast fields of making, instead of trapping you in a maze with a carrot bobbing overhead.
So go and make. Put down words, spread paint across a canvas, paste together photos and paper. Turn on the new Sia CD and sing while you do beautiful work. Mess up a time or two, paint over the same piece a dozen times, fill that blank page from the top to the bottom.
Go and put your muscle to work.