TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated the creative process. I know it’s essential. I also know how stuck we can feel sometimes. How painful the creative process can feel in a culture that values product over process.
“Creative people” sometimes seem like magical creatures. Magic and impossible.
Which is odd, isn’t it?
Impossible only because it’s this thing we seem to want to quieten as early as possible in children. In us.
If you’ve ever said, “Oh, I’m just not creative” or “I don’t have time for __________” creative pursuit…
Join the club. But also, let’s commit to remembering that creating is like breathing. We create. We breathe.
I’m not sure if you listened to the podcast on “nocebos” — fair enough if it felt too negative :) Quick reminder: nocebo is the opposite of placebo…and nocebos are just as effective at hurting us as placebos are at healing us. tl;dr We really should be aware of and try to minimize nocebos in our lives.
Carrying this forward into this week, I will admit that I have continued to curse myself (use nocebos) around my creativity my entire post-child life. Why?
Moving into what may be quite a challenging fall and winter, I’d like to recommend that we all remember how vital creating is to our lives. You don’t have to produce anything. It’s the process, it’s the action of creating.
Think about an artist who inspires you. Consider writing a letter (unsent) to them telling them why they inspire you. See where that takes you.
(don’t forget that inspire means to breathe in)
So — to all those unfinished projects around you. Consider making peace with them. What about unstarted projects? Make peace with those.
Consider the process. Our learning consultant while we homeschooled often schooled me about this vis a vis the kids not finishing stuff. She spoke of the ebb and flow, the way things pause and then restart. Obviously there’s a cadence to it, a tension, a delicate balance. I think when we can kind of feel the beat of that project, we can make peace with that rhythm.
When we need to complete projects and we have deadlines, that’s a slightly different monster. But the process, the creation pulse or beat or rhythm, there’s something helpful in making peace with that.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
I know that I have unresolved shame around my creative process. I wonder — I have the impression that many of us may.
We live in this odd world where, oddly, unfortunately, many of us were shamed (often unintentionally, often institutionally) for creating instead of producing.
Shamed for actions/words/thoughts that are uniquely human. And not loved for those. Here, I am certainly not saying it’s child abuse to have little kindergartners line up or wash their hands :)
And, at the same time…I think it’s important to acknowledge that the way we help our children and the way we were helped often quietens our essential creativity.
And, sometimes, again, with no conscious harm intended, we can end up feeling deep shame over stuff that is essential to being human.
Depending on where you fall on this scale, either find a helpful therapist (always a good idea, anyway) or take quiet, simple, daily steps to reawaken your creative spirit, your process.
Perhaps if you make your living “as a creative” this may sometimes be even more important for you?
Video (Kyemah Mcentyre — The Making of My Canvas Dress)
I was a little taken by this video! It’s literally the creative process of this young person’s making a hand painted canvas dress. So inspiring and such a real window into the creative process. Lovely.
9. Hero: Oprah —Icon
Why? She honestly just keeps opening things up for us. She could have stopped at becoming a news anchor. She didn’t. And she somehow uplifted a category of television and carried the torch that Phil Donahue lit — in a way that, looking back, seems like it should have been impossible. You may disagree but at this moment, I feel like she has been there continuously egging me on, unlocking pieces of me, unwrapping layers. I wonder if she’s not so successful, in part, because of how encouraging she is to others?
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts. Creative Process episode Thursday with Jackie Tahara, print artist.