What is feeding my creative soul?
I’ve been asking myself this a lot recently. After a season of busyness, following a year and a half of general uncertainty, it’s especially hard to get back in touch with what truly nourishes the soul. But there are some habits I’m working on over the next few months to rebuild and recommit to a life of creative inspiration.
Today, I want to talk about the third habit to foster the creative life: tapping into different art forms, especially more physical art forms.
How writer’s block begins
While writing is a creative art, it differs from some other arts in that it isn’t a completely physical, tactile process. Of course, writing with pen and paper is a physical act, but a lot of the work of writing begins internally, mentally. You can’t put anything down on paper without first thinking about it. In fiction, specifically, the characters, places, and connections must all be figured out in some way before they can be written out.
For me, the reality of this process is what often leads to writers’ block: I might be in such a creative mood, but the idea of figuring out words for imaginary ideas and typing them out in a digital format to store them in a cloud doesn’t always quite scratch that itch. Writing is two-dimensional; sometimes we need three-dimensional creativity.
Creating on the physical plane
I’ve found that looking for other ways to be creative, especially in a physical, tactile way, serves as an outlet for tapping into my creativity. As someone who processes so much internally and through words (which is why I became a writer in the first place!), it’s a good practice for me to reconnect with the physical world, to remember to stay grounded in my body, and to learn to express my creativity in new ways.
Some art forms I enjoy during these moments are fiber art, like knitting and crochet. The texture and repetition are soothing, and being able to create a garment or item for my home is instantly rewarding (or, in my case, the idea of actually finishing something is rewarding!).
Floral design, scrapbooking, gardening, and yoga are other ways to create (even if, in the case of yoga, I’m creating stretched muscles from stiff muscles), by using my whole self, and giving my word-riddled mind a break. Listening to or playing music, decorating a neglected corner of my home, or pulling out the watercolors and enjoying the melding of colors on paper, all bring visual beauty into my life, even if I never pursue these other arts beyond an amateur level.
Art is more than a product.
I think we often become so focused on commodifying art, on becoming expert at it, that we forget to enjoy it simply for the inherent benefits it brings us (More on that next week). As a culture, we tend to think of art as auxiliary, superfluous, unnecessary. We fall into the trap of being too pragmatic about art, even if, and especially when, art is your vocation.
If we let it, however, tapping into different kinds of art can propel us forward into even greater creativity.