Creatives, this week we will continue our discussion of the creative personality and the creative cycle. We are going to dive into the notion of “showing up for creativity.”
Let’s take one step back and revisit the topic of art process vs product. As we are learning how to make art, and again throughout our lifetime as artists, we are very product focused: how does our finished product look, represent our view, our technical skill, the marketplace, the art world, and more? In fact, without discerning between the two, our default view of our art form is likely to be product focused. This is valuable and important, but distinct and different from the process of making art. The process we engage in while making art is connected to neurological creative processes that are grounding, inventive, fulfilling, communicative and even cathartic. Becoming too product focused can disrupt the artistic process, and over investing in the artistic process doesn’t usually create your best product. Depending on the goal, it is useful to more heavily weight or balance these two elements. Assignment due? You are likely to be product focused. Doing art for the therapeutic value? You will need to invest more in the process.
The idea of “showing up for creativity” comes from a long held belief by creative people that the spark of creativity or inspiration isn’t constant (remember the creative cycle post?). Oftentimes between these moments of inspiration (which can range from less interest or energy in your creative work to being stuck or blocked creatively) we decide we will wait for that next creative wave to crest before diving back into our work. To “show up for creativity” is the idea that this is backwards: the spark doesn’t organically appear without doing the work. Rather, by continuing to produce work, you will build the momentum and energy back to the moments of inspiration and passion that creative people live for. In other words, the belief is: do not wait for creativity to happen, show up for it every day.
This is actually a commonly disputed belief, and unfortunately the evidence for or against the system is by necessity anecdotal. Essentially, like many things in the creative personality, whether or not it works for you to “show up” for your creativity and continue to produce work during inspirational lulls, depends on the unique factors that make you, you. What it does do is give us a concept by which to begin to explore and discuss your creative process, struggles and goals. I am interested in how the adage works for you.
How do your creative instincts, protective mechanisms and personal history respond to the concept of “showing up for creativity?” Dare you to test the theory? What I have said before and what my own psychological research has sustained, is that to be happy, fulfilled, resilient and their best self, creative people need to create. Regularly. All the time. This is perhaps one way to make this happen. Many creative people swear by it. So tell me, Creative. How does it strike you?
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.