Monday, October 24, 2011

On dealing with managed creativity

One thing creative people have to learn to deal with is pressure. Sometimes it can be a good thing, that extra edge of adrenaline that forces you to do more than you thought you were capable of. But sometimes it can cut creativity, and make you feel like Professor Trelawney, on being asked to produce a prediction on demand for Professor Umbridge. If you are in the arts professionally, this becomes quite a bit more of a concern, as you will have deadlines (sometimes unreasonably short!), and you will have to stick to them. For me, I know that I can be creative when I'm angry, when I'm sad, when I'm hurt, when I'm ecstatic, when I'm excited, etc. But the one situation I find it hard to be creative under is when I'm worried. Somehow, worry captures my subconscious mind and holds it hostage. I can see how, if I were caring for a family member in need, if I was facing serious financial issues and/or unemployment, if there was sudden illness or tragedy, and I had a sudden, short deadline looming--I might feel like my head was about to explode. I don't have a lot of answers here, but it's something I want to think about before it happens to me, since, by looking at others, it seems it does eventually happen to most people.

The one thing I know is that for me anyway, creativity comes from the subconscious. That's where all of the things that collect in my mind go to mix and simmer. It's when I'm relaxed and not quite looking straight at it that the ideas come to the surface. I can work with and idea forcibly once it does come, but that initial spark has to be there. So--I think that finding ways to relax, even in the midst of a crisis, has to be key. Maybe it's physically changing scenes. Going for a drive to look at fall leaves, visiting a city different from your own. Maybe it's doing something physical, like exercising. Maybe it's drinking in other kinds of arts--if you write, go to an art museum or concert. Read a ton of books, all on different topics. Remodel your house. Or maybe service is the answer--sometimes being stuck in your own head too long can be boring. Doing something for someone else and forgetting about yourself can remind you how people--how the world--works.

What about you? When you find yourself stressed and feel your creativity slipping away because of it--what do you do to get it back?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A postscript on feeeeeling

The most important job--perhaps the whole goal of storytelling--is to make the recipient feel. No matter what other goals you may have--to instruct, to subvert, to convert, even to merely relate an event--if you don't make the reader/listener/viewer feel, you will never capture that person's attention enough for them to pay attention enough to your story. If they feel, your story will live. If they don't, your story is just a dry husk.

Just something to keep in mind.