Dancer & choreographer Martha Graham wrote one of the most powerful things I have ever read about creativity. I have it written on my studio door, to remind me.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.”
Keep the channel open. To Agnes DeMille
In”Dance to the Piper”
Most of the courses and workshops I run in creativity are about teaching people how to keep their channel open. Whether you are creating huge works of art, or living more authentically – being a creator of your own life – the most important thing is to remember that creativity is a PRACTICE.
To help you with this practice, I have created a free mini downloadable Playbook for you here.
There’s no magic pill to turn you from a not-creative being to a creative one. You have to show up every day and work at it.
Here are some of my favourite ways to keep the creativity flowing:-
1) Input. In her book ‘The Artists Way’, Julia Cameron explains the importance of a regular input of visual symbols to an artist. She says that artists actually THINK in symbols and that we have to keep our reserve – what she calls ‘the well’ – full in order to stay creative.
It is important to create fresh experiences, explore and search for new input, as often as possible. Visiting galleries, readying books, getting out to see shows, even watching interesting documentaries can keep your creative well full. Just taking a mindful walk – where you take time to notice what’s around you – can feed your creative well.
2) Output. Too much input with no output causes all kinds of issues, most of all overwhelm. It’s important to keep your ideas flowing – into you, then back out via the filter of your creative brain. Even if you just jot something down quickly in a Creative Journal, it will keep your creative ideas from getting stuck and swamping you (not a fun feeling, trust me!).
3) Connection. Speaking with, meeting with and linking up with other artists is crucial to your self-care routine in keeping your channel open. Most cities have a meeting point like my cafe, The Art House, where creative people can get together, share ideas and just feel part of a community. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near such a place (maybe you could start one!!) then there are lots of online art groups. My recommended ones are:
My CreativeBeing worldwide art club (free to join, we share monthly prompts and ideas in all art forms)
Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Life & Business Academy (great if you are going into creative business, as there are well over a thousand other women on there you can share ideas with – and eCourses included in your membership)
SARKs Creativity Clubhouse (a lovely place to be inspired by one of my favourite teachers, for a small monthly fee gets you into the private Facebook group where you can connect with SARK, plus simple themes and tools each month)
Willowing and Friends (free to join Ning community run by UK based artist Tamara (Tam) Laporte.)
Effy Wild’s Glitterhood (free to join, Ning community based around art journalling and mixed media art – Effy’s video tutorials are a treat).
4) Play. Nothing closes the channel faster than a constant expectation of ‘proper work’. Creativity is born in a place of experimentation, openness and a willingness to fail spectacularly.
5) Practice. Like everything, art gets easier to do the more you do it. I find creative journaling to be the most powerful way to keep up a regular practice even when life gets incredibly busy. Coming to a creative space regularly, even for a short burst of time, is vital to keeping your channel open and that gorgeous art coming!
How do you keep your channel open? Do the above methods work for you? Please share in the comments section, I’d love to hear your response to this post.
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