How hard can it be?
Creativity. How hard can it be to be creative? I find the most difficult thing about being creative is actually finding the time. Take this blog for example, I promised myself I would get up early and do at least 10 minutes on my blog everyday, so what’s happened? Life, that’s what’s happened!
‘We’ and by that I mean, my husband, got a new dog and then he got a bad back, so guess who’s been walking it and clearing up after it, yes ME! I keep saying “I’ll just do…. and then I’ll blog for 10 mins”, “I’ll just do……” and yes, you’ve guessed again the ‘just do’ never seems to end so the blog never gets updated! I’ve spent the weekend at a menopause workshop which consisted of lying on the floor with my legs up the wall. This is supposed to get the blood flowing to your brain and stop the hot flushes. That of course presumes you still have a brain, mine seems to have turned to mush!!! Then there was walking the dog and Grandparent duties, finally late on Sunday evening I get to blog. And the sHeadspace? Well take a look at the shed this week! Far from getting it moved, it now has a fence attached to it, for the dog! Anyway, I’m here now so better make the most of it.
I’m really interested in the creative process, what enhances it, what inhibits it, can it be learned, can it developed and honed? I’ve have re-visited Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Living Well- The Psychology of Everyday Life. Here Csikszentmihalyi describes ‘The Flow’, also known as zone which is the mental state that people find themselves in when totally immersed in an activity.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a singe-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.
I’ve often heard the expressions ‘the creative juices are flowing’ or ‘they are in the zone’, personally I find it hard to get into the zone due to a lack of time. It takes ages for me to clear my busy work head and relax enough into an activity in order to become completely immersed and for the flow to take place. When it does it never ceases to amaze me, I stand back and think “Wow, where did that come from?”.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his fellow researchers began researching flow after Csikszentmihalyi became fascinated by artists who would essentially get lost in their work. Artists, especially painters, got so immersed in their work that they would disregard their need for food, water and even sleep.
I have a painting on my the sitting room wall in my house by my favourite artist John Higgins. The painting is of St. Ives harbour and is particularly stormy with dark foreboding skies. John says he was in a bad mood when he painted it and that is exactly what I could see in the painting, it was as if part of his soul had imparted onto the canvas.
When you are in ‘The Flow’ that’s what happens, it’s as if part of you is transposed into the activity and you become one with what you are creating. In my opinion this is very evident in a something creative when it’s not there, then the piece of art, music, haircut, culinary extravaganza, painting, sculpture seems to lack a depth and is cold and bland.
sHeadspace is about how we find that space in our heads and lives to get into the flow and be creative.