Nurture Your Creativity
by Jeffrey P. Fisher
The creative process comprises four basic steps.
(1) Doodling. Here you play around with ideas, collect material, and generally putter around without any real focus. When "doodling," many people feel guilty that nothing "real" is getting done. They confuse this crucial step with wasting time. It's not. Give yourself permission to "play" because out of the play can come some real inspiration.
(2) Do nothing and let everything percolate. This is where "writer's block" lives. It's often frustrating because you can't seem to find direction. Recognizing the importance of this stage can help you deal with the anguish of hoping for something good to happen.
(3) Ah, the muse. Suddenly, a spark of inspiration hits and the creativity flows from a higher place. Often, the work is effortless and productive. When inspiration strikes welcome it with an open heart and mind. It is here where we'd all like to spend our days -- in the throes of passionate creativity
(4) The real work. Now you call upon all your skills to create something special from your inspiration. Once again, it's another place where we like to visit often.
Also, nurture the creative process by reading, watching, and experiencing all you can. The more you know, the more you can draw upon for inspiration. Learn more, too. With a variety of subjects in your brain, the better prepared you are to use the material in your creative work. You have a bigger well to draw from and that can help you explore the deeper recesses of your creative spirit.
Haven't new experiences always sparked your muse? Haven't you created something after you discovered something new or made a new connection, or even after a relationship went sour, or any other event that greatly impacted your life? Does it make sense to you that adding more experiences to your life should result in more inspiration? Worth a shot, don't you think?
All creative types have "bad days" where working on our life’s work is unproductive, at least on the surface. This unproductive time is actually vitally important as it leads to real productivity. Identify the ebb and flow of your creative process and use it to your advantage.
When you understand your creative moods, you can exploit them for your greater gain. Put the other stuff on the back burner and float downstream. Other days, know that the prospect of working on your art is furthest from your mind. It's a temporary dry spell. That's the day to catch up on all those other duties that pile up. This way you carefully balance your time away from intense creativity with time focused in the zone.
Even in a dry spell, be sure to take an artistic bath each day. Don't force yourself on "bad days", just keep your art around you, know that today's not the day, and don't worry about it. "Tomorrow is another day," Ms. O'Hara. Look for other artistic immersions. If you are a composer/musician, for example, listen to other artists or throw in a CD of your works-in-progress as you drive to an appointment. Read a music publication. Practice your instrument of choice. Or simply play for pleasure. Take a minute to scribble a few ideas down about a song, lyric, production technique, or other idea. Or take some time to promote your business in some small way-- a quick call to a past client, post to an Internet site. Whatever. My point is you can work on your art even when your creativity ebbs.