17 February 2014

Creative process

I was part of a conversation today about finding the time to do all the things that interest you. There’s a lot of stuff that I want to do – and I am realizing, especially recently, that I only have so much energy to go around, and I cannot always do all the things I would like to do.

Still, I am able to plan and organize when the need arises: it’s one of the skills from my old life that has remained with me. Fortunately I don’t have to do it very often, because it takes a lot more out of me these days, though I can still pull it off when necessary.

But for all the things that come from deep inside, the creative things … well, I simply leave the working materials easily accessible, and then work on the thing that calls to me that day. This drives my family nuts, because I have baskets and piles of yarn all over the house, and they cannot understand why I need them all out. I have multiple projects on the go, and they are scattered everywhere, waiting to be picked up. I feel anxious if it’s all put away, I need it out where I can just run my hands over the skeins, and think about what that yarn might want to be. To have the things that are intriguing me right where I can see them, even if they sit there for several weeks before I pick them up.

Sometimes, I go weeks without spinning. But if I’m in the midst of designing a shawl, or just in a knitting mood, or a weaving one, then that’s what I do.

Every now and then a deadline pops in the picture and I have to hustle and do that thing whether it is the thing I feel like doing or not. But really, my life is better when I simply do the thing that calls to me the loudest. Yes, many things call to me to try them. I let them simmer in the back of my mind while I do the other thing that is currently occupying the front of my brain … and then all of a sudden, at one moment, the thing that was simmering will come right up to the boil and I HAVE TO GO DO THAT RIGHT NOW!

So I drop whatever I was doing, and do the new thing. And when it releases me, then I go to whatever calls me next. It truly does feel like being captured by an idea, by a project … my mind is snared by something, and I cannot rest easy until I let the work find its way out into the world through my hands.

It is very unplanned. Very much the exact opposite of the way I am accustomed to living: I am a very skilled planner, organizer, project coordinator - it’s just one of my gifts.

It is also a skill that is completely irrelevant to my creative life. :) Because that is … soul work. It comes from somewhere deep inside, where there is no time, no calendar, no schedule. Just … just that powerful life force, demanding to be expressed, first in one way, then in another.

It seems to work best when unforced. I think by letting one thing sit, even for months on end, you allow the creative energies for that pursuit to simmer, letting the flavours blend, letting the energy build. Then when you finally realize that it is ready to burst out into the world, you simply cannot contain it … and it rushes out of your hands, all on it’s own, with all that pent up energy and strength and time behind it, and it comes to life.

Which is the whole idea, right?

That’s how it works for me, anyway.

I would love to hear what it’s like for you.

1 comment:

  1. My creativity cannot be forced, either! I set myself up with deadlines, but sometimes that doesn't work at all. Other times, it's good motivation to finally weave in the ends, or set the whole lot of yarn. I think it's something about the finality of those actions that some times slows me down. Once I do the finishing, it's done. And unless I have a great idea for the next thing, it's kinda scary to not have a project on the go. I think I'd be lost without 2-3 projects waiting for me.

    I think this post of yours has inspired me to blog about my creative process... thanks Lona!!


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