The Nature of Creativity, Revisited...

in #artlast year

I wrote most of these words while making breakfast for our dog and preparing a bacon sandwich for myself, evidence — once again — that our best creative moments often come along not when we are sitting down, trying to be deliberately creative.

A little speech-to-text while I am doing these tasks — in no way related to art or blogging — saved ideas from simply "drifting by" and never being explored.

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Light and Shadow

I have a big — and rather cluttered — desk here in my home office. On it, several boxes for different types of creative endeavors; blogs, drawings, marketing, whatever...

When I sit and look through these literally hundreds of little hand scribbled "idea notes" in my boxes, it immediately strikes me that 99% of them were written while I was cooking, or waiting in traffic, or mowing the lawn.

Pretty much none of them came from deliberate attempts to "write something." And when I have an idea for a new painting design, I pretty much never have the opportunity to just go and start executing it right away.

And yet, I mostly manage to "capture" these fleeting moments of inspiration.

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Balancing Act

Unfortunately, it's not exactly a formula you can bottle and sell!

I sometimes get asked how I manage to keep coming up with writing ideas... and the closest to a "true" answer I have been able to come up with is to "stop thinking about writing and go do something else!"

Not an approach they typically teach you in creative writing courses.

What is true, however, is the old notion that the quickest and most certain way to stifle creativity is to try to force it. Which explains why my timed in-class "test" essays in English class always sucked compared to my homework essays.

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Decaying Turret

Of course, I will hasten to add here that some people are "Grace under fire" and do some of their best work under pressure... I just don't happen to be one of them!

There are schools of thought out there that the best way for us to make the most of our creativity is to practice every day. For example, author Stephen King makes a point of going and doing a day's writing every day, whether he feels like it or not. Creative coaches like Julia Cameron advocate that artists should create art every day, whether they feel inspired, or not.

Perhaps that works for many people, but I'd like to think we can leave the door open for other approaches! What do YOU think?

Thanks for reading!

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