maintaining creativity
Monday, October 28, 2013 at 05:17AM
Rachel Ellen Andrews in creative process, creativity, painting

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.' 

 Martha Graham

Did you keep your creative channel open this week? Life got in the way for me; some of it was good stuff - catching up with friends, writing a new holistic therapy course .... some of it routine - admin for the business, running errands - but somehow it transpired that four days passed without my getting into the studio :-(  By day four I was feeling a bit desperate and determined that I would spend a good chunk of my next day painting.  

Yes, desperate... I recently attended a workshop about developing my practice and we had to do a 'speed dating' exercise.  We had to introduce ourselves by saying who we were, what we did and WHY we did it.  I found myself saying over and over again that the reason I made art was because I had to and that if I didn't I got depressed.  I said that making art is a fundamental part of me and that to not make art is to deny that part of my self.  (I should know, I denied it for over 25 years - you can read more about that here.)  What was interesting (although not surprising) is that most people were saying pretty much the same thing. 

So how do we maintain creativity?  If we have other lives to lead, jobs to go to, businesses to run - how do we maintain our commitment to our creative soul? 

I know other people have written about this but one of my favourite writers is Austin Kleon in his little book 'Steal Like an Artist'.  He recommends keeping a calendar and a logbook.  The calendar means that you book your creative time in with yourself and the logbook records what you've achieved.  I have my own version of this; it's my 'to do list'. I log in that I want to 'paint every day' when I set my objectives for the week.  Sometimes it doesn't happen, most times it does.  A good week has lots of ticks :-)  (I like to walk every day too - looks like it didn't happen this week...)

Austin Kleon also says 'Writing a page a day doesn't seem like much, but if you do it for 365 days you have enough to fill a novel.'  It's the same with my painting - maybe I can only do an hour or two a day, and on some lucky days I can be there for 3 or 4 hours but those hours add up and this routine maintains my creativity.

So after my four days away, I made a commitment to myself to get back in there.  The little paintings in this post are the result of a great afternoon in the studio.  They're not finished - they're works in progress - but I feel full, I feel fed and satisfied.  My soul feels replete.

I have to show up, I have to turn up every day I can at my desk and do the work.  At the beginning of the day, I earmark the studio time.  Book an hour in your day, book a day in your week - whatever works for you.  Don'f feel guilty about it if you don't turn up, but ask yourself this - if you booked a lunch date with your best friend and you didn't show, how would she feel?  If you book your art date with your creative self and you don't turn up, how is she feeling right now? (Sorry, that is pretty guilt loaded, but I just know so well what happened and what happens if I do this to myself.)

How do you maintain your creativity? Does it feel like hard work, or is it a necessity? What strategies do you use? Do you show up every day, once a week? I'd love to hear from you.

From my creative heart to yours

Rachel xox

ps just a little reminder that I am teaching on 21 Secrets 2014.  You can read more about my Glorious Goddess workshop here

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