Wednesday, June 16, 2010

But can you still stay creative?

"Lean into the sharp points and fully experience them. The essence of bravery is being without self-deception." - Pema Chodron

I was once told that creativity is only okay if you are okay. This might be true.

I've been asked how I handle down times, creative blocks and burn out. Creativity can be tested by tiny matters that trip you up or really big events. Little distractions can squeeze into the creative cracks and take you away from what is important. What could be worse than that? It could take you away from your creative habits, deadlines and the things that make you happy.

But what about those edges, sharp points and stumbles? Life can push us into places that we don't want to be in physically and internally. These moments can make us feel like we are falling apart.

But can you still stay creative?

'Stick-to-itiveness' is described as tenacity, having back-bone, daring, determination, and strength of spirit. This is the capacity to kick up the moxie from time to time even though certain life events can test your creative patience. So what works?

1. Think Simple
There is this wonderful Japanese concept I learned a long time ago called Wabi Sabi. It is the art of living with less to gain more. How it works is like this: there are 3 simple realities that are based on the idea that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Often control can be a huge stumbling block that stops us before we even begin. Trying to be in control while things go wrong can have its down sides. When we try to force things or make things as they once were, we can hit conflict. Lemons in life means you have to find a new solution to your creative recipes. Accepting pit falls but allowing flexibility is a huge liberator!

2. Clearing
Got mess? Junk on your desk and around your home can make one anxious and scatterbrained. Too much clutter and mayhem can clog the brain. Both can be energy depleting and bad for creativity. Start small by organizing your papers to your work space and go from there. It's amazing how good it feels when you know where things are. This not only saves you time but creates a more positive pleasant creative environment.

3. Diversions
I call these creative distractions. They are good for you. You can do something completely different from the norm but you gain an enormous amount of reward from it. Diversions can be anything from writing to collecting comic books to music. The great thing about distractions is they can seep their way into your work. They can regenerate you, reinvent you and most oftenly inspire you.

4. It's All Imperfectly Perfect
Ever notice how life is not perfect....ever? So why do we try to create perfection? It's an odd concept but common none the less. Predicaments can make us want to fix everything so it is just right so that way we can go on. Pit falls, stumbles and failure change our way of thinking about everything sometimes. It's funny when people succeed they party and when they fail they ponder and change! The expression I use around my house is "Practice makes great!" Perfect sounds done but imperfection sounds open to exploration. Life stuff goes on and chaos happens. How we deal with it makes all the difference.

"You know when you go into a department store and they have an irregular rack? Irregular. That's my staff." - from the tv series ED

5. Shelve It
Life can get in the way sometimes and distract us. Time can move fast and work against our work. I'm a huge believer in stopping and reevaluating what I am doing. Ideas do not happen when you want them to sometimes. Ideas need to breathe. Forcing the issue wont make your brain work any faster. When its time to tackle that idea again you will know. It will feel right and one idea will lead to another and another and another...

6. Spin It
Tired of your usual way of working? Change it up. Doing the opposite sometimes opens up creative doors and feels like a breath of fresh air. Remember there are no fast rules to creativity. Define what creative freedom means to you and use that.

7. Daydreaming
We were told as kids that drifting off and not paying attention was a bad habit. I am here to say it is creatively good for you to mindfully vacate. First off, it is unstructured thought. In a typical day we are thinking about all sorts of things to what is for dinner to solving work related issues. Letting your mind wander opens up ideas, random clues and also jogs memory. Why do you think sleep is so popular? Your mind goes where it wants to, you rest, you wake up and you start anew.

Creativity comes from some pretty odd places to irregular moments-- so why not use the energy that comes from it. Creativity means using what you have, living in the moment to allowing yourself to play. Simply stated, feel it if you are going to feel it and don't be hung up on structure or rules. If you are going to put energy into thinking about life stuff-then use it! Use it all and make something good out of the bad.

Sometimes you just need to trust that inner voice that says, "It's fine. Do it anyway. Do anything and see what happens. It might work."

© Holly DeWolf 2010
* The above chalking is from my 8 year old daughter who reminds me to play everyday. Wise girl!*


Redheaded Stepchild said...

Great post, Holly!

Maria Senkel said...

This was good. I specially related to #2. I always make sure my art room is organized and clean. I feel that I cannot start creating anything unless everything is in order. Very interesting.