Demystifying the Creative Process

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In the novel Trust in the Unseen, Brandon Chane, the narrator, describes a moment when he touched into his own creative flow in a powerful way. This happens after a tumultuous emotional experience. He forgets, momentarily, all about his own agendas and ideas about what constitutes "real art" and, in that place of free and whimsical play, spontaneously composes what would come to be his favorite song on his band's forthcoming record.

Something odd happened to me then, at this critical threshold of my anguish. The world receded; or perhaps my mind relinquished its attachment to its surroundings. Nothing existed except for Rachel and I, for the love that passed between us as simply and undeniably as the breath of skies. The sensation was divorced from all notions of time. This was a single moment that always had been and always would be.

My feelings bubbled up from their molten core, lightening and quickening as they rose. They mustered up vibrations in my throat. Sounds demanded expression, so I opened my mouth wide. The notes slowly joined hands and formed a melody. Words sprang out of it like foam from the denser flesh of a wave. I sang without even stopping to consider what I was actually saying.

And thus, I serenaded Rachel with what would grow to become the song “Sister/Satyr”. Fortunately, I repeated it enough times to commit it to memory.

ART on a Pedestal

The creative process is as natural as breathing. That's true for all of us. The question isn't whether we're creative but only in what way.

If, for example, you are mid-way through an essay and suddenly feeling stuck - you literally can't squeeze another word on to the page -  this doesn't mean that you aren't creative in the moment. Really, you are creating whatever the obstructions are that are getting in your way.

Writers, painters, poets, dramatists... all of us can learn how to better step out of our own way. Demystifying the creative process is a big part of that. Putting ART on too-high a pedestal makes it almost impossible for anyone to create it. Such expectations create too much internal pressure for the voices of creation to make themselves heard. More energy is expended in deconstructing than in constructing.

The Spirit of Play

...is much more conducive to making art.

The Surrealists had a mission statement that basically read, "You just have to obliterate the ego and give the Unconscious free reign." That was the philosophy behind thousands of binges in various artistic circles.

Other creative people turn their back on intoxication but express a similar underlying belief in a different vernacular. "I am a channeler. It's not me doing this writing, but some Higher Power. God, maybe. I'm just the vessel."

But our primary work of art is our own lives; and the palette that we use to to paint the canvasses of our lives consists of our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

Realizing that we're the creators of our own reality can dissolve many of the detrimental theories that we may have about art and what it means to live creatively. We can feel how everything in life is a creative act. It demystifies the creative process, returning it to its natural place as an activity alongside all the others.

This belief has makes the whole experience of conscious creation much simpler, more enjoyable, and more powerful - no longer bogged down in dogma and hype.