Would you like to be creative whenever you want? I would. Is it possible? What are the optimal conditions for creativity? If we knew, it would make the whole affair of making art so much easier.
Sometimes I feel creative and sometimes not. Often, instead of making art, I end up reading emails. Or, right when I am about to begin, it feels like the perfect time to clean the refrigerator. Why does this happen? Is this just me?
I used to believe I was creative only in the morning and once I had missed that time I would just have to wait till the next day. Sometimes, I reasoned, it was a particular kind of music that helped me. Or maybe it was my environment. I remember doing some of my most creative thinking sitting in laundromats waiting for my clothes to dry. I thought it was that sound of the dryers that was conducive to my creative thinking.
I started asking other artists how they get into their creative headspace. Turns out, the more people I asked the more varied answers I heard. There doesn’t seem to be any particular way this works.
Surely, I thought, there must be some scientific research already done on this idea or perhaps some wisdom I could glean from very successful, high achieving people. So I looked there too. It turns out, there are some general similarities with people who are abundantly creative. All seem to possess a degree of self-discipline, intention and self-confidence. But that is where the similarities end.
Everyone, eventually conjures up creativity, but they all do it differently. This is what makes creativity so challenging to understand.
However, after teaching so many years of creativity workshops I did eventually come up with an answer.
I don’t think it is about the music I listen to, or the fact that I have English breakfast tea with milk and sugar right before I start painting that creates the creative mindset. (Although this surely helps, I promise!) Or, if your studio is big or small or if you have one at all that makes the difference. It is not about talent either.
It has to do with one simple thing. One simple thing that is available to anyone, anytime and practically anywhere.
It is action.
When we take action, when we begin, physically doing something, in our art, or even our lives, even if we are not so sure of where we are going, I believe it automatically begins the creative, flow state. Creativity does not magically appear because we create the right conditions. It comes automatically once we begin. Once we start it starts.
It seems so simple really. Of course the problem is that we alone, first have to begin that art project; we have to conjure up the energy even though we don’t feel so creative at the time. There is a small degree of faith involved.
But make no mistake about it; the creativity needed to make the art comes bundled in the actual package of making it.
So next time you feel stuck or uncreative, just start. Take action and move towards what you desire.
Creativity will then arrive. It doesn’t matter whether it is Art or something else in your life you are making. It doesn’t distinguish between the two. All that matters is that you begin.
So what are you waiting for?
How do you find creativity for your Art and Life?
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.