The Creative Process
After the creative person has been in an immersed state of creative flow, at some point he or she must exit this space. Whether it's the result of having to tend to other responsibilities or ideas have run out, departing from this creative bliss can feel terrifying to the artist. As one steps back and reviews the work that's been created, this leaves the artist susceptible to self-doubt and self-criticism. During this pause, anxiety and panic can resurface. What felt like an intense and energized period of creating can suddenly shift to self-judgment and a lack of self-confidence. For this reason, one may have difficulty re-entering the creative process and instead find themselves creatively blocked.
It's important to understand that this is a normal occurrence for anyone who is creating. Accepting that this can happen at any moment during the creative process is the first step to better understanding one's own creative practice. It doesn't matter how many years of experience, how well one has mastered their skill, this still occurs with even the most advanced creative professional.
How does one re-enter that flow of creativity after exiting a phase that seemed so productive? It's important the artist turn to alternatives realms of immersion in order to avoid becoming blocked. Immersed experiences happen outside of one's regular creative work. They ignite inspiration and offer ways to connect to oneself and others. Other forms of immersion, nurtures and refuels the artist, preparing them to reengage with the creative process.
When one steps out of their home, office or art studio and into the outdoors, it's as if the creative spirit takes in a deep breath. Something about blue skies, sunlight, and fresh air transforms the artist's frame of mind. This could be as simple as a walk through a botanical garden, or a hike through a state park. Connecting with nature can offer a way to revitalize one's creativity.
Exposing oneself to other forms of creative work can reawaken inspiration. For instance, take a stroll through an art gallery or get lost in book of poetry. Listen to a beautifully composed piece of music or go to a concert to see a favorite group perform live. See a movie that conjures deep thinking and alternative ways of looking at life.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and outside of what's familiar is a great way of exposing yourself to new and exciting things. This can renew inspiration and shake up new ideas. You don't necessarily need to go out of the country. Sometimes simply attending an ethnic festival or going to an exotic restaurant can provide a similar adventure. Immersing yourself in a new culture can provide a whole new perception of colors, stories and rituals.
Artists have been known for living solitary lives in order to do their art. Although a certain amount of alone time is essential for the creative process, what is equally important for the artist is connection with others. This deep connection can be with a parent, partner, friend or therapist. Relationships provide a meaningful source of support, strength and courage for the artist to continue to face the creative process.
Sometimes without even knowing it, we get trapped in the routine of creating in the same medium day after day. Exposing yourself to a medium completely different from your usual skill can help get creativity flowing again. If you're a writer take a sculpting or a dance class. If you're an artist, learn an instrument or write poetry. Sometimes even the simplest creativity like decorating a room in your house or selecting the right flowers for your garden can provide an immersive experience.
Make it a goal to seek out and fill your life with experiences that will revitalize motivation and inspiration for your creative work. Just as getting enough sleep or eating the right foods is essential to a healthy body, having immersive experiences is necessary to sustain one's creativity. •
Recommended Resource: Standing at Water's Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion by Anne Paris, Ph.D.
©2010 Lisa Agaran. All Rights Reserved.
Lisa Agaran is a professional Mixed Media Artist and Instructor. Her work has been shown in both solo and group exhibits throughout Los Angeles and New Mexico. More