5 Insights Into Embracing The Creative Process
I think I mentioned that I’m leading a 100 Day Challenge right now with a group of 50 creatives in my community. We are on Day 78 of 100 which feels amazing. The reason I’d like to talk about this is because I entered this year’s challenge with the goal of using my iPad Pro, Apple pencil and an app called Procreate every day for 20 minutes for 100 days in a row. What I discovered is that my love of the overall process is what has kept me going when I wanted to quit, switch gears or felt unmotivated or lacking in creative ideas.
What do I mean by embrace the process? Here are 5 ways to think about it and I’m curious which one resonates the most with you. Read on and then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Create a Ritual
You may already have a routine that supports your daily creative habit. If you don’t, spend some time answering these questions:
· When are you most creative? In the morning, mid-day or in the evening?
· What needs to happen before you sit down to create?
· Do you need a clean, uncluttered work area or can you work anywhere?
· What might enhance your experience? A scented candle? Some music? An open window?
· Can you leave your art supplies out for easy access or do you need to put them away every day? How can you make accessing them as easy as possible?
Once you develop a system or process for yourself that supports your creative goal, keep refining it and adjusting it as needed. Think about key elements that add to your overall enjoyment of the entire experience. A cup of tea, maybe?
Ease into The Work
Whether you can devote an hour or just 10-15 minutes a day to your practice, pay attention to what helps you start. Will you open your sketchbook to a new page or decide to experiment with a new set of supplies? Ease into the beginning to help you relax and make those first few marks. Don’t set any expectations around the outcome. If it helps, limit yourself to 3 tools:
· 3 pens with different nib sizes
· 3 colors from your colored pencils, watercolor set or other media
· 3 items such as your paper, your pen and one flower from your garden or a photo
Getting started is often the hardest step in the process. Try not to overthink it. Just start because that creates momentum and your work will flow from there. Set limits on what’s spread out in front of you. Sometimes it’s great to have ALL of your supplies at the ready. But often, it’s helpful to narrow your selection and put everything else away. This can help manage that sense of overwhelm and those voices saying: “There are so many choices! What am I going to create today?”
Time is Fluid
Be prepared to experience time differently every day. Some days the process will seem endless with the clock ticking by minute by minute. Other days the process will go by quickly without you even realizing it. Expect these ebbs and flows and be mindful of them. If you’re having a particularly challenging day, make simple shapes or lines on your paper to get your hand moving. These marks may become interesting background textures for a future project or yield nothing at all.
On those days when time disappears, enjoy it and keep going for as long as you can. Embrace the moments of stillness both around you and inside your own mind. When you’re deeply focused, your mind guides you from step to step. You create almost without thinking. These times are magical. Stay with them.
Remember Your Why
There will be days when you’re unmotivated, sick or feeling uncreative. Remember why you are practicing every day. Articulate that goal for yourself no matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be a huge, life changing why. It can be that you’ve reached a time in your life when you’re ready to invest in yourself, in learning something new, in creating a body of work. Or it might be that art is helping you heal, is opening new possibilities in your business, is an incredible way to bring your family closer or spend more time with them.
Set mini-goals for yourself that support your why. These can be very helpful when your daily practice hasn’t become a solid routine quite yet. Focus on your first week. Then your first 10 days. Then reaching 2 weeks. Celebrate each mini-goal. Put $1 away after you reach each one and use the money to support your why or to buy a new pen or brush or pencil with your savings. Rewards are important.
Give Yourself Grace
We are not perfect. We will never be perfect. Give yourself grace when you are too tired, or too sick, or the day got away from you and it’s 10pm. The most important thing is to start again the next day. Athletes are very good at this. After they lose a game, they shake it off and start focusing on the next one. Progress is so much more important than perfection.
Start anew. If the time away from your practice was a week or more, take advantage of the “break” to re-examine your process. What might you change as you get started again? Which aspects of your process did you enjoy and want to continue and which aspects didn’t resonate over time? This is the perfect opportunity to adjust, make changes, and begin again with fresh energy and a new direction.
If you are ready to explore your creativity and learn new skills, join Skillshare and get 2 months completely free. As a teacher on Skillshare, I’m thrilled to be able to offer you this amazing opportunity. Pick from thousands of creative classes. Get started today and embrace the process!
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation. I grew up in Paris on the Place St. Sulpice and walked to school through the Luxembourg gardens. And that was only the beginning… Learn more by watching the video on my About page.