Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CREATIVE INTENTIONS AND THE ART OF FINDING FOCUS

Beth Morrow

Finding Creative Balance

Living a fully realized, creative life requires a special set of skills nurtured over time and with careful introspection. Finding beauty, making meaning, establishing your own unique pattern of interpreting the world is not a simple or instant process. Once the creative mind is unleashed and aware of its potential, however, the constraints of the logical world around us seem to slowly dissolve, replaced by limitless possibilities, intriguing ideas and exciting visions that inject hope and inspiration in our daily lives.

But the very reason the creative mind feels such freedom and potential in the mundane is the very same reason the world can become a prison: lack of balance. Too many ideas and the creative mind feels overwhelmed and scattered; with too few ideas, the lack of meaningful action can cause a meaning-making crisis where futility can grab hold.

Breathing life into your unique brand of creativity is a delicate balancing act between two diametric opposites: dreaming and doing. Spend more time dreaming—of plots, of color swatches, of photographic angles, of future earnings from an adoring public who can’t get enough of your work on their walls or shelves—and too little time actualizing your ideas paralyzes the mind, creating a sense of overwhelm and panic. Excessive dreaming manifests itself into excuses, apathy, inertia and even depression. On the other hand, too much action and not enough meaning behind your work, in the form of artists and authors with too much on their plate and not nearly enough creative time in which to do their ideas justice by fully fleshing out the work’s meaning, is a precursor to burnout and latent negativity toward your craft.

When the joy of creative expression disappears, so too does the impetus to create. The best way to avoid finding yourself at the bottom of the emotionally creative spiral is by creating a process of introspection toward your work. On a regular basis, treat your creative self to a reflective session. Sit quietly, breathe deeply, thinking on the creative endeavors currently in your life and how you are applying yourself to them. Notice how you feel toward all your projects and involvements. Do not be afraid if you realize you want to spend less time on those that drain your energy or leave you listless for others. If a project is your livelihood and you feel uninspired by it, try viewing it from a different approach. Think about the joy with which you began the creative process, then bring it new life by taking action on it where you find the most compelling emotion.

Bringing your craft and vision to life inside your creative heart first and through your actions second will not only provide the balance your creative soul needs, it will reawaken the passion your creative mind craves.

Beth Morrow is an author, teacher and creativity coach from Grove City, Ohio who blogs daily about the challenges and triumphs of the creative life at: www.writer-in-progress.blogspot.com.

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Visit me on the web: www.bethmorrow.com
My (almost) daily blog for writers: www.writer-in-progress.blogspot.com
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5 comments:

miriam said...

This is extremely appropriate to my situation. Lack of balance causes one to fall down! Then that looks like fear, which does play a part in causing it I suppose, or lack of willpower or desire, but no. Balance is something that has been adequately discussed regarding many others -- from mothers to businessmen -- but artists I feel kind of abhor the subject, even when I've seen them practice it! Hypocrites! We're supposed to live for passion, better to burn out than to fade away. Pffw.

Beth said...

Well said, Miriam. Balance is so hard to come by and does require time and attention, but without it...well, you get the idea!

Tarot By Arwen said...

"When the joy of creative expression disappears, so too does the impetus to create."

Well said, Beth! I love that you coach to to inside, to be introspective. That's something I find as necessary to my work as I do breathing. Fabulous blog!

Colleen said...

Very well said, Beth.
I am a newbie, 60 year old. I write how I feel. Thus far, only one short story I am working on, does not pertain to a feeling I have. I would find it Horrible to Burn out and Fade away. I enjoy writing. It gives me a release. Without that release, I would find no joy in what I am doing.

Thank you.

mcrowley41 said...

Beth: So well said! I try for balance but, alas, heavy sigh, never quite find it. I have rediscovered the joy of writing which had been gone for too long. Now just to get my rump in the chair and more words on the page!

Margaret