As someone who deals with the creative process for a living, I constantly have to stoke the creative fire. Creativity, and if I may expand my parameters to touch inspiration too, are not a tappable source of infinite supply. Anyone who has had to produce consistently can attest to this.
When I think about creativity, the word wellspring comes to mind. Wellspring is an original and bountiful source of something. But is there really a wellspring of creativity happening at all times?
As someone who deals with the creative process for a living, I constantly have to stoke the creative fire. Creativity, and if I may expand my parameters to touch inspiration too, are not a tappable source of infinite supply. Anyone who has had to produce consistently can attest to this. (P.S. If you're looking for a good read about this, Elizabeth Gilbert contextualizes creativity, inspiration, and living as an artist in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.)
As I sit here two days past deadline, I'm not worrying that I made a mistake in pitching this idea for the blog because I couldn't put my 'why' into words fast enough. Instead, I'm thinking about how I've integrated time for daily creative research into my routine and learning to feel how much or how little creativity is coursing through me when facing the day's projects. After hours and hours at my day job and a list of outstanding projects at home, I don't always feel artistically successful or capable of a fresh idea—but this essay isn't about my insecurities. I come to you, Spoaken Word readers, because everyone needs a pick-me-up in their creative practice. And I'm here to share mine.
High and low stakes are situations to consider when trying to fill your creative well. Travel costs, wandering through unfamiliar galleries, and unimpressive house tours are all high-stake endeavors in the face of adult responsibilities. Taking on a full-scope design project to see if you like working in the field? This is high stakes too. This kind of pressure might kill the curiosity that led you there in the first place. But, a low-stakes high-reward moment of self-enrichment? My solution is at least five minutes a day of self-focused artistic care with Spoak. Regardless of the focus in your primary design field, I guarantee there's something here for you. Let me elaborate.
I've lived in New Orleans for a year, and every day, I start the first few moments of my professional morning looking for something new. I open my email in one tab and Spoak's Thingology feed in another. This habit immediately gets me in touch with color, textures, art, and even sofa shapes that jumpstart my creative thinking for the day. In many masterclasses I've taught, I've asked my dance students to move while visualizing themselves in an ornate ballroom or an environment in their chosen design.
An expansive space inspires movement differently than a smaller space, whether you're going for the juxtapose or otherwise. I never used to equate choreography and movement improvisation as aspects of being a designer. In stepping outside my primary artistic focus to play around with Spoak, I've welcomed different avenues of inspiration to inform how I think about and create art.
High-stakes perfection and engendering unrealistic creative pressures is a needless pursuit. Zero-sum game? I don't know. I don't really like sports—but a match of corralling your aesthetic inspiration for pleasure that fuels daily creativity? Yahtzee baby! I'll take that bet. (All references to sports, games, and billiards concluded hereafter.) And with this end, I bring you my point: we are all designers of some Thing in our lives, whether functional, artistic, or experiential. There is a place to fail, edit, and try again—and Spoak is that platform. The openness and support of the community members is that place. Interacting with others learning and working on their creative practice is a big part of why I keep coming back. Design is design, whether it's a botanic garden, kitchen renovation, or a site-specific dance theatre piece. It's up to you to explore and discover which one is calling you.
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