Being creative is the foundation of an artist. Or at least that’s what everyone thinks. So why does being creative feel like work? Finding creativity and expressing that creativity is sometimes…lots of times….really hard.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Finding your inner creative and making stuff shouldn’t feel like work. I believe creativity is about expressing who you are and what your brain thinks. Being creative is fun. It should be fun. So how do you get past the “work” of being creative?
When I think about my creative process, I actually get a feeling of happiness. I would go as far as to call it a joy. That’s what creative expression is about. I think many people, regardless of their field, struggle with creativity because they fear the opinion of others.
Stop with that thinking.
Your creativity isn’t about others. It’s about you.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Get Creative In 5 Steps
When I’m struggling with drawing or photos to shoot, I use a simple, 5-step process to overcome the block and get making. There is no science behind this. It just works for me. It might work for you. At the least, you can design your own process from this.
- Stop. Yes, stop creating. Step back, put the pencil or camera down and step away. Taking a break from the act of making let’s my brain regroup.
- Reevaluate. I look at what I’m doing and think about why I’m doing it. What am I trying to convey through my image? I ask questions like why? What’s the purpose? Is this worth my energy?
- Write down the idea. I’ll either write my idea or ideas down or I’ll do a rough sketch. This helps to visualize without going full-blown art making. This brings clarity to my process.
- Stop. Yes, stopping again and taking a break. Clear the mind so I’m fresh to go back to what I wrote down or sketched.
- Decide. Decision time. Either I go with my idea, or I start over.
That’s the simple 5-step process. Before you say this is nothing special, you’re right, it isn’t. It doesn’t need to be. The key takeaway from this is to give yourself time to think.
Sometimes creativity just flows. It’s non-stop and you just go. Many times, it takes the effort. Following a simple process takes the work out it. If you have a plan, you can revert back to that plan whenever you want.
I might implement this process three or four times on one project. I’m looking for clarity. I’m looking for the vision.
Focus Improves The Process
In the process above you’ll notice I stop, twice. I take a break. Stopping and walking away is the key to the process for me. The break allows my mind to recapture its focus. I improve my thought process and subsequently, my creative flow refocuses. It’s as if taking a break from the process, puts the process back on automatic.
Taking a break relieves the stress too.
Stress makes the process feel like work. When I’m stressed by what I’m making, then it’s work. It’s not fun. It’s not happy. The vision is lost.
Creating art, photography, music, your next novel, or even developing a business idea, doesn’t need to feel like work. Creating anything, for yourself or others, speaks to the basic human necessity of expression.
That’s what artists and any creative individual are doing.
You’re doing it. I’m doing it. There’s no rule against implementing a system to keep your creative process moving.
I find my process is more personal by stopping and focusing and repeating. I become more connected to my original idea. My artwork becomes a better reflection of me.
Your call-to-action is to develop a system that keeps your creative process going. Make it personal. Take the work out of your artwork!
Also published on Medium.