Friday, October 16, 2009

Sharing Thoughts on Inspiration & Creativity...

For two days here it's been cold, snowy {yes, I said snowy...I have proof}, and super dreary. Also, Maya has been pretty much attached to my hip...even more than normal. These are not prime conditions for creative genius. I have felt all sorts of lack luster in all sorts of ways this week which, for a creative person, can be immensely frustrating. However, I have been living an art infused life long enough now to know that this is a temporary state. I will come out of my creative doldrums soon. But this particular phase has motivated me to write a post that I've been thinking about for a while on the topic of creativity & inspiration. And since we're all about the sharing this month I thought it would fit in nicely.
Creativity is innate. We are all born creative beings. Often, as we age, the creativity can be reasoned out of us; ie: it is still very much within us but we choose to neglect for various reasons. I could go on and on about the perils of neglecting our inner artist but that is an entirely different post!
Creativity, therefore is not something we can learn, study, or memorize. We can learn skills and tools for utilizing our creativity. But there are no notes to refer back to when we're feeling uninspired. This can be a really intimidating feeling to an artist. For us, the need to create beautiful things is a driving life force. When we're unable to do this, it can be devastating.
If you learn to read your personal creative cues, you can easily recognize when you start to slip into a creative rut. Firstly, recognize the symptoms as a mere phase; momentary and passing. Accept that these are not days to try to push out amazing and brilliant work. I feel that these days come most often when my proverbial well is depleted. If I'm tired, worn out, dealing with family issues, or recovering from something that was hard, I'm all the more likely to have a period of time where I just don't have my normal amount of creative energy. These are days to rest the soul and be gentle with your spirit. This is a great time for collecting; images, scenery, experiences. This is not to say that I do not "show up" for the work. I continue to do the work, repeat the process, go through the motions. Only now is not the time for judgements or harsh self criticism. Remember...accept that you are in a phase.
During this time, I like to watch my children. They are so free of "should dos" and their creativity is limitless. They care not about technique or "proper" ways of doing things. These are the best days to break out the paints and watch them have at it. This is also a great time for long outdoor walks. Nature, fresh air, and exercise are wonderful at re-storing the creative spirit.
Some people like to scour the Internet, magazines, galleries, or stores for inspiration. I like to go to Michael's or even just the grocery store to get some fresh ideas. However, I can usually only do this when I'm beginning to emerge from the phase. If done too soon, sometimes it can be overwhelming and bring on additional frustration to look at the creativity of others. But when the time is right, it can be a powerful tool. When the creative spirit starts to stir within you again, it's good to kindle the fire with lots of eye candy.
Before you know it, you have ideas galore and you're merely trying to find time to fit all of your ideas into your busy schedule. They may even be keeping you up at night. They may be HUGE! I often find that I come out of these phases at another level of creativity. Remember, growth is always uncomfortable...but it's always worth it!
So, bottom line...creativity has an ebb and flow all it's own. It's best not to push it or get angry with yourself. Take some days to rest & re-fuel, gather sights & scents, and prepare yourself for the massive creative wave that surely coming your way!


Kathleen October 16, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

Beautifully said.
I think the same can be true for parenting - sometimes we get in a rut where moods are mismatched and everything is a struggle. I really related this to your observation that seeking inspiration too soon can be detrimental... when I'm feeling "bad mom-ish", all of the blogs I love just depress me as I wonder why I don't do that stuff?
Maybe the key is just trusting the cycle, and learning how to care for ourselves in the down and prime ourselves for the next up.
Thanks for the encouragement, and have a beautiful weekend.

barbara October 19, 2009 at 10:38 PM  

well said:)