The Flow of Creativity

Be honest – how often do you force yourself to be creative? Do you find yourself getting frustrated when your creativity doesn’t flow easily? Do you get angry at yourself, doubt yourself, get insecure?

Most of us do this on a regular basis. A couple of years ago, I was researching ‘writers’ block’ for a project and I came across a motivational speech on TED Talks about the way the ancients viewed creativity and genius. Instead of the tortured but big-headed approach that we seem to take nowadays of being talented and creative, the Romans, for example, believed that genius was something that visited us, like a muse, when it desired to. Of course, on the one hand, all the reward would go to that strange muse should a creative come up with something great, but on the other hand, just think of all the pressure dropping from your shoulders when you realise that when you are blocked, or just restricted in your flow of creativity, it isn’t your fault. The muse just hasn’t visited you today, that’s all. And you know women, they are unpredictable, and very busy nowadays, right?

If you were pregnant, you wouldn’t pop babies out one straight after another. Even if you had a child almost every year, there would still be periods of what seems like rest, when on the surface nothing is happening. Maybe you’d feel sick every morning or put on a bit of weight, but overall you’d look like every one of us, just more tired. But on the inside, at that very moment, very important developments are taking place. We know it because we have all the science to tell us exactly what is going on. For an artist, however, there is no scientific evidence to prove to themselves or to everyone else that they aren’t just being lazy, blocked or on a sabbatical that lasts forever. But then, we artists don’t always need science to tell us how we feel. If we are stressed about being blocked, the muse wouldn’t come to us – what woman would want to spend her time with a mad stressed-out depressive?

Maybe this is all to do with our era of delivering results, and fast. Maybe the Romans had more time on their hands, without the constant news, emails, telephone calls and kids’ activities. But forcing our creativity would be the same as forcing a pregnancy. The baby will only be born healthy if we give it enough time and rest to develop.