Squeezed orange juice and creativity“Sometimes we try too hard and it is like squeezing an uncut orange, the juices go everywhere.”

I’ve written about forcing creativity before.  But I turned it around and it was actually creative at that time. It doesn’t always happen that easily.

Today I was chatting with my accountability partner Barbara Abramson about focus and scattered thoughts when we both wanted to be consistently writing great articles.

Sometimes The Juices Just Won’t Flow

Sometimes our thoughts are just scattered. Unless you have practice at calming the mind, trying too hard to focus just makes you feel guilty about not focusing; which further diffuses the ability to focus.

You end up wound up tighter and tighter in elastic bands and the pressure to produce can lead to… look a squirrel. I think I will go chase it instead of doing what was making me stressed out. That.

The trick here becomes taking away the pressure. Poke a little hole and let the creativity come out just a little until the pressure goes down.

Success Breeds Pressure

When you have a few successes, you start to think that everything you do should be successful.

“I have the Midas touch; everything turns to gold instantly.”

Except it doesn’t.

The pressure of trying to create gold every time stifles creativity.

Success breeds pressure rather than success.

You have to create your art without too much attachment to the end result. Some will be bad, some will be good and some will be great.

If you create enough art, you will create lots of great work over time.

Exercising Creativity

It is a bit like going to the gym once a month. You just don’t get the benefits you would going on a regular basis.

If you exercise your creativity on a regular or daily basis it becomes easier to create when you need it. The creative muscles just have more strength and flexibility.

Also beware of the fitness plateau. You may improve quickly and then seem to plateau for a while. This may cause you to quit or stop working at it consistently. You may lose faith in the process.

Switch it up a bit. Create something that uses some of those talents but in different ways. Or maybe something totally off-the-wall; dance instead of paint.

When you come back to the original art you will have more skills and perspectives you can employ.

Group Creativity

A lot of creative agencies rely on groups to be creative on a schedule. If someone is off on a particular day others can step up. Creativity can then influence more creativity for everyone.

Sometimes when you are working alone, you feel like YOU have to come up with all the brilliant ideas. When you don’t the pressure mounts and… creative juice everywhere but not where you needed it.

Have some people local or online that you can be creative with and get creative around. Find a few people who can hold you accountable for practising your art.

That is what just happened with Barbara Abramson and me. She had written: “my orange is dried up and hard” in response to my opening oranges statement and I had stated that “I too was unfocused”. The discussion stimulated us enough to both write articles; her’s is here.

Fun, Flow and Creativity

Remember when you were doing something just for the enjoyment of it. Then you made it into WORK. The joy left.

Sure you have to think of paying the bills. If you can you should take on some projects just because you enjoy them. Celebrate the results of creation for yourself, not just what others say about it.

Set boundaries around that or you will get into a mindset where you don’t ever think about what others want or need and are willing to pay for.

Once you are getting good at something and you aren’t treating it like work, you don’t have to try so hard.

You can get into a state of flow much easier. I know a writer I am learning from, Kimanzi Constable, who can pound out 8 articles for numerous publications in a single day; on a schedule.

I can’t. Yet.

That isn’t something you can get to until you practice to the point of getting into flow when you need to.

The Pitcher Of Creativity

Over time and with practice you will be able to squeeze out the creative energy and more consistently hit and fill the pitcher.

Even so, there will be bad days, bad ideas and bad pieces of art.

Keep working at it. The great stuff is in there.