Spring is here and I’m full force in creative mode. Between planting seedlings, capturing my dreams day and night, dropping off creative deeds, and connecting with my muse, sometimes there just doesn’t seem like enough time to do all the things I want to do. But I know in my heart, I feel it in my being that creating must continue. It allows me to connect with my true self, be who I am, and be ok with not getting it ALL done. After all, there is always more to do right?
My head sometimes spins in anticipation of all the new things I will be involved in now that warmer weather is just around the corner. Gardening, a creative endeavor I take on each spring reminds me ever so clearly of the creative process and its ebb and flows. I hang on to this metaphor, with its powerful reminder that even when I am not creating art, I am still an artist, even when I am not painting, I am a painter. A story told by Clarissa Pinkola Estés speaks to this: an artist is sitting down in his backyard seemingly doing nothing and his neighbour approaches him and comments I see that you are resting, and the artist replies, no I am working. The next day the artist is painting at his easel and the same neighbour comes and says, ” oh I see you are working today” and the artist replies “oh no, today I am resting”.
Creating is not just about what is produced, it is about process. Sometimes the process may seem like it has nothing to do with creating at all, like those times when you seem to have hit a dry spell and are not creating at all, but just like the garden whose seeds have been planted and are germinating underground where we cannot see them, so too the creative process is often germinating out of our sight. And if we forget this we can sometimes go into panic mode and think that all is lost.
Sometimes our creative process needs a little help though. Just as the garden seeds or perennials may lay dormant until the right conditions and environment exists, so too can our creative process. Sometimes the embers of the creative fire inside need some attention, a gentle blowing to ignite will suffice, too strong and we may become overwhelmed by its power.
Simply put creative practice needs to be fed by engaging in it. When we create for the sake of creating rather than for the end result the creative fire is stoked. When we forget about it or put it off, it dies down, and sometimes can go out, the same as if we forget to water seeds planted.
Here is what you can do to keep your creative fire active:
But there lies the problem for most right?
Protests from the critic say, “there is not enough time” or “its frivolous!”
Here’s how to counter these notions:
Schedule it in. Scheduling does two things:
- It gives your creativity due respect and importance.
- On the practical side, it sets aside time that you may otherwise dwindle away on worrying about not having enough time to create.
- Make sure others know you have set aside this time for your art.
- Have a space dedicated for your creative process:
- whether it is a room,
- a wall in a hall,
- a desk or table or
- simply a toolbox with all the supplies you need on hand when its time to create.
Commit to Take Creative Action:
Don’t confound yourself with projects that don’t make you happy, create from your heart for your self. Creating is an act of self-expression. Allow your process to unfold in a supportive environment, whether it is with trusted friends, at a workshop or through an online course which respects individual process and expression. When you create in community you are often more likely to act on your creative impulse. Community can support: it reminds you of the importance of creating and holds you accountable to take action because you are making a commitment and dedicating time for your art.