I have a confession, I have reached a point where I have run out of words. I know it won’t last but it is uncomfortable just the same. Here I am supposed to be writing something inspiring to you the reader- even that sounds drab and unexciting. But I could not think of what to write, that is until I began to write.
The act of writing in and of itself began to inspire me and the words that had not come to me before this moment began to flow. It doesn’t always happen this way. In fact, most times I just keep putting it off, stuck in my thoughts of “I have nothing important to say”. Does this sound familiar? Or perhaps your inner voice sounds something like “I have nothing important to create/paint/draw/sculpt/art journal (fill in the blank) about.”
When I was doodling daily it felt good; the inspiration came to me through the doing not the talking, and I was reminded why I chose the profession of art therapist rather than just therapist: it is the doing that shakes things up and gets creative juices flowing, not the other way around. You can’t actually think things into being until you actually act on those thoughts. And sometimes if we can just skip the (conscious) thinking all together we’ll surprise ourselves with what appears before us when we just begin to create.
A story that is not recorded either through written word, spoken word or depicted visually are just trapped thoughts until they are released.
Reading posts on creativity or viewing videos on connecting with your creativity may spark that inner creative fire, but it won’t sustain it. What sustains our creativity is creating- nothing else. It is the act of creating that gives us the drive and the hunger for more creating. It is not the thinking about it that keeps that creative spark lit.
This is where most people get stuck. The starting of the “doing”; the act of creating rather than waiting for that perfect time when nothing else is in the way. Too much planning and expectation can be the death of a creative spark. Over-thinking can betray our creativity.
Do you remember when you were a child how great it felt to share what you did? “Look at me” was your mantra. Family, teachers, and friends would gather round and give you your 2 minutes of fame, genuinely interested in what you had created. When we create in community, with others as our witness it can be reaffirming of who we are. Community is important, it is a part of what makes us human.
I know for me having accountability to other than myself can be motivating, for example saying I’m going to create daily doodles and then sharing them. Creating in community or with a witness can be a powerful process. Creating in this context is a sustainable practice.
It doesn’t have to be big or even daily, though a daily practice can certainly help. The important thing is that you create following your rhythm and flow. I’m not saying it is easy. But when you set the inner critics and busy mind aside, it is possible to reconnect with your creativity, sustaining it one brush stroke at a time.