Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to Find Your Inner Creativity

Adapted from: "How to find your Creator State" by Sandra Walter

How do I honor my creativity?

Step One: Do your homework
Step Two: Give your ego a vacation
Step Three: Remove doubt
Step Four: Start in a supportive environment
Hold on: You may be wondering ...
Step Five: Breathe
Step Six: Create with abandon
Step Seven: Surrender to the art

Step one: Do your homework

Artists, just as athletes practice to perform their best. No artist can produce their best work without practice. Practice is to art what exercise is to the body. When your body is stronger,
more flexible, and has endurance, your day-to-day tasks become effortless. When you practice your craft, either in quick workouts or in marathons, your mind and body become accustomed to your art.

When your mind and body are at ease with the task at hand, your spirit is free. You are not preoccupied with the process of your art. You don’t ponder where to land the brush, or search for your lines, or remember the next step. The mechanics of your art become second nature.

Regular art practice makes the technical portion of your craft a no-brainer. You no longer think about the activity itself. This leaves your art open to inspiration, where something less physical can take place. It is similar to regular meditation; when the body is at peace, the soul opens to possibilities.

Regular practice of your art paves a faster route to creative clarity.

Step Two: Give your ego a vacation

We spend so much time with our own egos. We need to take separate vacations to allow something new to happen in our art. Pack your ego’s getaway bag with everything it needs to survive; fear, self-doubt,
judgment, and your personal hang-ups, and send it somewhere warm and sunny for a while.

It can be challenging to dismiss what people think of your performance (or of you personally). Artists have egos, some larger than others. Your ego can be a great tool when the art is finished. It can help you market yourself, brag about your last great review, audition for that intimidating company, or talk about your work to strangers in the gallery. All of those are excellent outlets for your ego’s special skills.

But our pushy, worrisome ego has no place in our creative time. Ego can hinder us with judgment and fear, which can shape our work into false forms. The need to shock, please, flatter, laugh, delight – all of these ego-based needs can influence our work if we allow it.

If we are worrying about how we look on stage, or if our art will shake the audience enough to make us memorable, or if our dance shows off our best moves, how can we create? Be present with your creative energy alone. Give it your complete attention.

Step three: Remove doubt

Doubt is the block to end all blocks. This is the most difficult hurdle standing between you and the rich experience of your Creator State. The egoless activity you are about to engage in may attract nagging, relentless doubts. They may look like this:

  • I should be more (insert any judgmental adjective here: crazy, free, quiet, bold, loud, mysterious, wild, talented, attractive, smart, abstract).
  • I can’t feel anything, I’m a hack.
  • I am not going to change the world, why bother.
  • It’s just a small performance, I can skate through this one.
  • My art is never going to sell.
  • I can’t create anything new, everything has been done to death.

You get the idea.

Doubt comes in many forms, and loves to grab us at that last second before we cross over to our Creator State. Doubt is a product of your ego and your personal experience. Dismiss your doubts as soon as possible. What will start rising is the curiosity and inner feeling to find something magical in your work.

Step Four: Select a supportive environment

After the homework is done, after the ego and doubt removal are complete, you are ready to give this new sensation a go. Your first venture can be alone or with others, as long as you are in a supportive, safe environment. Try to make your first attempt a rehearsal, not opening night or when you have a deadline. Not for your first time. You need as little stress as possible.

You may want to try it alone to ease your self-consciousness. It depends on your medium and what the wise Julia Cameron calls your “vein of gold”. Use whatever your strong suit is for creating, in the medium where your most passionate work has been crafted.

It will be much easier to find your Creator State in your most productive medium. Most of us have a few areas where we shine. Pick the one you love the most.

If you’re in a rehearsal situation with others, you might want to mention to your director or conductor that you’ll be experimenting. Or mention it to a colleague. While you won’t be straying from the structure of the piece, you’ll want to be able to take action on impulses you receive while in your Creator State.

Trust the creative process and free yourself up for some fun.

Hold on: You may be wondering…

What about the script? The score? The choreography? My series of architectural photos? Rest easy, the goal of your piece stays intact. The state of consciousness we are talking about is a level above the base
mechanics of plot, scene, or subject. Most artists have a goal in mind when working. You are typically trying to create “something”. Even if it’s an improv or a painting and you don’t know where it will lead,
you still want to create something in a given amount of time. It’s what you do with that act of creation which is unique.

Once you understand the basic technical aspects of your craft, then you can take steps toward the Creator State. The roadmap of plot, score, or choreography is the journey. Your interpretation of that journey is where the Creator State comes into play.

So, in summary:
  • Trust your personal creative urges.
  • Take a risk, take a plunge.
  • Release your new work into the world.
  • Be more authentic to your true creative self, your deepest desires and yearnings.
  • Refine your creative choices. Be true to your authentic creativity and contribute to the process of life itself.
  • Contribute to your creative field and contribute in an authentic way.
I wish you much love, light and courage on your creative journey!

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