Tuesday, May 22, 2012
In Transition, Traveling, or The Creative Process
I have found that the process of creativity is a very fluid one. When you are creative, it feels unstoppable, as if it could go on forever and never end. This is just who you are. A creative machine.
But it is an illusion. Creativity ebbs and flows and it has its own journey that is not just about moving forward and being a genius. Creativity is a lot of silence. A lot of waiting. A lot of staring out of the window. A lot of quiet periods where things are growing, developing, and making their way into the light.
I think some people call these creative blocks, but I don't look at it like that. Calling it a block gives the blockage too much power. You focus only on what is not happening, and that is a sure bet that it won't. Instead, I look at these silent periods as fallow periods, part of the natural progression of the creative process.
To me, it is very natural, it is a kind of seasonal thing, although your fallow periods may not coincide with winter/spring/summer/fall. Mine kind of do. I think they are influenced by the mad crafting of the holiday season, the long days of summer, the get back to work time of the fall, and the... well... okay, spring is meant to be renewal and rebirth and all, but to me, so much of it is labor and letting the dark earth and cold rain do its job, while I wait for things to grow.
Hey, look. This is a picture of fields in spring. You notice that the grass is lush and green, but those fields are nowhere near harvest. They're barely even sprouting. I love when my photo/artwork sort of magically starts to fit with my ruminations of the day.
Well let me take my metaphor even farther. I don't feel very much like my fields of creativity are abundant right now. They're not, in fact. They're kind of just little germs of ideas, sprouts of inspiration. I want to be expressive and productive and bountiful in my creating, but right now, I'm just kind of picking at whatever is well formed enough to be something, even if it is not what I want.
But I am not doing nothing. I am thinking an awful lot about who I am, what I want, what I have done and learned and made in my whole life. I am tilling that soil. I am tending it. Fertilizing it with ideas that might work or things I want to try, even if they are not directly related to my long term goals. I am trying to get rid of the destructive or negative things in my life, purging things that are not useful, pulling weeds and clearing the space to allow things to grow. I am planting seeds, organizing those plans, starting work, trying different things, taking the first steps to make my creative goals come to fruition. (I just realized that you can really tell that I am the granddaughter of a farmer, even if I'm such a city girl, I learned a lot from him.)
This season in my creativity is a very frustrating one, knowing that I have to wait to get to the full fruited productivity I want. But at the same time, it feels good, itchy and antsy, but good, to know that the process has started over again, the first steps have been made, the journey has begun.
I think the most important thing about this stage of creativity, or about creativity in general, is to remember that you need to TRUST THE PROCESS. The silence is not wrong. It is a sign that something is growing underground and you need to sit back and let it. It is a sign that you need to prepare yourself for the hard work of tending and watering and harvesting. Don't resist the process, don't despair because you feel like you can't break through. Have faith that this is the way it works. Don't give up, keep working at it, keep looking for ideas, keep practicing new skills, keep organizing and planning, keep trying new things, keep being inspired by the world around you and the world inside of you. Keep showing up to the page. Trust and don't give up. This whole post is beginning to remind me of this one, from years back. But that doesn't surprise me, the lessons I need to learn keep popping up in my life.
What are some ways you've managed to break through those fallow periods and get back to creating?