“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone.”
– Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
Do you have a creative ritual that powers you up every single day without fail?
I used to think that artists had this magical, transcendent quality because creative ideas would simply strike them spontaneously from a higher source. This idea of talent was so much more romantic when connected to a mysterious source.
Of course, I’ve learned over time and experience that creativity is based on hard work and routine. Artists who work hard accomplish their goals, it’s as simple as that. It can still be magical feeling at times, but the foundation is habit, elbow grease, blood, sweat and tears.
If you really think about it, relying simply on this idea of talent is sort of lazy thinking. This talent thing does all the work, otherwise it’s not possible. Sounds more like an excuse to avoid the work of learning and growing.
I certainly have ideas and loads of sketchbooks filled with paths to follow-up on. And that is usually how I work… I pick something that becomes a project assignment and go for it. It’s a very practical approach, part of my very planned and rigid way of doing things.
Coming from the digital design world, it’s so much more straightforward to formulate a project goal and carry it out like an assignment.
The problem is that a scheduled project isn’t always so inspiring when you get to it. There’s also little room for spontaneity and change, when you have already outlined what the result should be.
To remedy that in my creative life, I need to let go and allow myself to follow the path that illuminates as I muddle around with a bunch of ideas. No matter how hard you try to plan your life, things never go exactly as planned anyway.
Why a creative ritual?
I think the idea of rituals is to form a routine that enables you to slide into creative mode with practically no effort. It becomes second nature. This means you beat the fear of the blank page and go full steam ahead. It’s like clockwork and that means you’ve beat resistance from the get go.
The whole issue of creative block would minimal because either way you’ll be in creative mode, exploring, searching, experimenting…
So I need to figure out my ideal environment for creative work, considering the 5 senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
The time of day. The scene around me. The tools required. The ambience… deep breaths. Begin.
What do you think about creative rituals and do you have one that works for you?