Commit to Creativity
The world is chock full of like these days. I don’t think like is a strong enough word to for creative people. To make something materialise from your imagination and find its tangible form we need to love, not like our ideas and then pair this with commitment. We are working with our soul and I just don’t think like is important enough here! Who wouldn’t love to commit to the mysterious process of creating?
In the act of creation we need to make taking that action as easy as possible to avoid becoming distracted by mental and physical reasons. We need to set in place the tiniest step towards our goal. It’s very hard to stop walking once you’ve begun and that’s true in the studio or creative space you have. Once you commit to ten minutes, or the first mark on the page, I bet you can’t stop.
Know Thyself: What’s stopping you?
Know thyself: as was inscribed on the forecourt of the Temple of Adelphi and I think the ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about philosophy. It’s time to think about how you prioritise your time for creating and reasons why you might not get down to it.
If you keep putting your creative projects way down your to do list, it’s time to think about what is that is being raised above it. Your need to make time and space for your creative activities just like you would for other areas of your life. It’s best to try and have a dedicated space no matter how small to serve you in your making. We as creatives need to catch ideas, grow them, make preliminary experiments, store finished pieces and perhaps even ship works or display them, depending on your medium that your work in. Choose to matter more than the other things on your to do list, firstly:
1 Make a list somewhere about the physical space or any equipment you need.
2 Make another list about any resistances to creating you may have. Perhaps, a specific incident or person had a negative effect on your creative activities? Is there anything you have avoided trying because you keep talking yourself out of it, maybe you that oil painting that is too difficult / expensive / messy / exciting. Maybe you are fearful that your work will be terrible. Name them.
Once you have your lists and can see the blocks more clearly, you can begin to understand and work on any blocks or material needs. Next, put a single item from the first list of something you need or want onto your shopping list and get it.
Review the second list and try writing a letter to the person or journal of your feelings about your block. Then, throw it away. Seriously travel light and enjoy the journey more, you don’t need to hang onto others peoples’ hang ups and unwelcome opinions that they’ve passed onto you!
Set a date with yourself to try something new or revisit . Begin small, begin inexpensively, begin safely – but begin. If you outgrow and initial inexpensive paints you purchased to dabble with you can add to them or replace them later as your passion grows and becomes firmly rooted. Be nice to yourself, your creative talent is special, treat it so.
Make it Easy:
Cultivate and Commit to Rituals, Habits & Routines
One way to build beginnings into something more permanent is by using rituals. Many people prefer to call them habits or routines, shying away from the sacred connotations of the word ritual. I think ritual is a good word as we use rituals in other parts of our lives to mark important points and events in our lives. Everything from birthdays, home-keeping and our regular trips to the supermarket revolve around habits and rituals. For example, many visual art training in begins with life drawing. It can be a very powerful experience in the life room, you are focussing on another human being, often unclothed, very intently.
Artists have a ritual in the life room, they:
- select an easel
- choose their place in the room
- set up the easel and attach the paper to the drawing board
- pose the model
- begin placing the image on the paper
- share the results and comment on each other’s work
- thank the model at the end of the session
The atmosphere in a life room (the space dedicated to life drawing) is as focused and reverent as any in a sacred space, it’s about being the best human we can be to one another. Twyla Tharp famously describes her ritual for creating choreography in her renowned book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Tharp describes how she prepares to be creative. Interestingly, her trigger is thermal, she needs heat to work and begins her day at the gym before going on to her choreographic work for the day.
What’s your trigger? Commit to Beginning
Devise a simple ritual you will use at the beginning of your creating time. Think about what triggers you creative flow. I always work with music on and if I’m nearing a deadline, I need to have it on my iPod with earphones for maximum concentration. Have a look at these ideas and see if any work for you.
- close your eyes and centre yourself for a short period of time
- put on the right music for what you’re creating
- journal or free write for a few minutes
- meditatively review the piece in progress or a few pages of your sketchbook
- make a cup of coffee or tea and take it into the studio or creative space
Try your ritual for a week and see if you develop a deeper relationship with you creativity and the work you’re making. Banish all thought of not working during your ritual and focus on the steps you need to bring your work to form. Then begin.
When we commit to working regularly without anxiety and negative feelings we allow ourselves to grow as a creative person and honour our skills and talents. Making and creating is called work as it doesn’t come without commitment and challenges. But, all things that are meaningful and dear to us do, and it’s so worth it when we’ve made something original from our commitment to our work. So are you ready to commit to creativity, ditch like and fall in love with your creative talents?