Keeping Your Creative Fire Burning - Julie Brown Neu

Keeping Your Creative Fire Burning

sunflower during sunset

Stage Ten of the Creativity Journey

The final stage in your creativity journey involves learning how to maintain your creativity, how to keep your light alive. But you may be worried about the Fear of the Blank Page. You may be full of ideas now, but may wonder if the ideas will always be there, if one day you’ll wake up to stare at a blank page and have nothing to give. The good news is that creativity is self-regenerating – the more you create, the stronger your creativity will be. But there will still be some fallow times. Expect them, prepare for them, but don’t fear them. 

I’ve come to realize that there are seasons of creativity. They rarely coincide with the calendar, but creativity can be cyclical with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter seasons. For a while you will be cruising right along, creating up a storm; that’s your creative summer. As you move into your creative fall, you may realize that your pace has slowed a bit, but you’re still creating. You may find in this season that you’re producing work but aren’t generating a lot of new ideas. You’re reaping the harvest of all of the ideas that germinated earlier in the year. Then one day when you least expect it, a frost will descend over your studio and you’ll find yourself with little desire to create. You may stamp your feet a bit and fill yourself with hot coffee, but the fastest way to bring about a thaw in your creativity is to recognize the winter for what it is – a much-needed break. Take time off from creating. Build a fire and curl up on the couch with a book. Go out and visit museums. Take a vacation. Your creativity hasn’t abandoned you; it’s just lying dormant for a bit.

You need not wait for a creative winter before taking a break however. Anytime you feel your creative energy flagging a bit it’s okay to take a break. Switch gears and do something different. Go on an Artist Date, try a new technique or take a class, do some Creative Play. Any new experiences will revive your creativity and bring back the joy of creating.

When it’s time to get back to work and you need to bring on your creative spring, how do you get started? When you’ve been in a sluggish winter of rest, getting moving again can be a challenge but you just need something to get excited about to get your sap running. If you need the warm up, sit down and brainstorm all of the projects that you can think of. You’ve probably filed a bunch of ideas away as mental notes over the years; see which ones come back up and see if there is one that makes you feel all tingly. If you’re not a list maker, why not go out for some inspiration? If neither of those options work for you, try playing. Pull out some supplies and just mess around. Get your hands dirty and that may get your creative juices flowing again. But be patient too. You may not be able to control when it happens, but you will wake up one morning to find that spring has finally arrived.

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