“Leap, and the net will appear.”
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Link)
There are some times the muse will strike and nothing can stop the creativity from flowing. I am sure this audience knows this experience well. I am writing about the other days. It’s when you are staring at a blank paper or digital canvass and wondering where to start. As a writer, the words do not always come to me. There are times when writing a screenplay that the characters begin to spontaneously have their own conversations and I just sit back and take notes. This is rare. Most of good writing is rewriting.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
When writing a website I find it is best to start as if I were the owner of a company I have started or grown and I am passionately telling people how my company came into existence. When people are genuinely excited about their products/services they want to tell everyone what is unique and special about what they offer. The trick is to approach each website as if it was your company and you feel the same way. If you are not interested in it, then how is the reader going to be interested?
Getting started is probably the hardest part of any creative project. The second hardest part is finishing it. When I sit down to write, I make sure I do exactly that. Regardless if these are the pages I will use, the point is something needs to go down on paper, if not for any reason but to rewrite it. I also find that the best way to get out of a block is to write. If it is bad, at least I am no longer blocked. It’s just not good, yet.
When you are in a project that just won’t progress, this is a time to take a break and clear the mind. I recommend walks, long walks, where the constant working of the left and right brain, eventually jogs something. It may not happen immediately. I also recommend total abandonment in a completely different activity and coming back to your art or creative project.
Sleep and dreams are good therapy and messengers. I once had a character wake me up from a dream within a dream, he was standing next to the couch I fell asleep on. I awoke and there was my antagonist giving me a creepy scowl. I asked him “what was that for?” and he responded “I am unresolved!”
I would offer tips on what creativity looks like, but I think it is personal and universal at the same time. I believe it is more important to have aligned your art with your passions than to rely solely on expertise. So I would encourage you to get in touch with the passions you have to create and the type of art you want to create. You will be living with it for a long time and that passion is what will get you through to its completion
“Thou shalt not give birth reluctantly.”
I am preaching to the choir here, I know. But there is no one else I would rather talk to when in the throes of a creative project, then someone else who has been there as well. If you are at the point of starting something new, or are letting something remain unfinished too long, or are in the depths of struggling to finish a project, hang in there. You are giving birth and this comes with pain. As any mother, even your own, will tell you, no one could have given birth to her child except for her. It’s her journey and you’re the reward. Same with your art. No one can paint that picture, create that masterpiece in photoshop, finish that book, whatever, but you. It’s just waiting.
“Creativity takes courage.”
Henri Matisse (bio)
It’s good to see yourself being creative and an artist for the long haul. The successes come and go but the process can remain very fulfilling. If your timeline is open to being creative throughout your life, then it becomes a way of life and living. So get on with it. While finishing a screenplay for a film I later went on to produce, I was writing the final scene late into the evening. I was just adding The End and Fade To Black, when I looked up from the computer to see my characters I created in a circle around me. They were smiling at me as if thanking me for bringing them to life.