Movement and Creativity
Growing up, I always had this impression that creative people had an innate ability to perfectly envision what they wanted to create and then would simply go through the motions of creating it. That may be the case for some, but what I’ve been realizing is that creative people are mostly those who are just willing to commit to the process itself.
As a musician, writer, and a beginner artist I’ve been discovering that creativity always requires movement. When I write a song, I rarely have any idea beforehand what the chords, melody, or lyrics will be. I just begin playing through some chord progressions, testing out different melodies, and try to get a feel for what mood the music is creating. Then I try to get in touch with what it is that I want to say about myself or the world and allow the lyrics to emerge.
When I write, fiction or non-fiction, I may only have a tiny thread of an idea. The idea comes into fruition when I actually sit down and start laying the words out on the page. Sometimes I don’t even know how a sentence will end until I am mid way the way through it. I often don’t know the details of how a story will unfold until I am in the midst of writing it. Somehow the act of writing itself is like pulling on a rope that is connected to a place that I cannot see yet.
I’ve only recently started learning to draw and sketch, but what I’ve been realizing is that sometimes the lines take on a life of their own. I may not know ahead of time which way I am going to make the branches on on a tree go, but after drawing one line, I suddenly seem to know where the next one should go. Sometimes a misplaced line becomes an idea for a new shape or design.
A metaphor that I’ve been dwelling on lately is that we are like pens full of ink ready to flow. Like a pen, however, nothing happens automatically. It must be pressed to the paper and moved about to invite the ink to flow and create a picture or tell a story.
So, whenever I feel stuck, like I’m not good at anything, or like I have no original ideas; I try to challenge myself to at least pick up the guitar and play a few chords, to at least sit down and write out some thoughts and ideas, or to at least put a few sketch lines down on a sheet of paper.
You never know what sort of creation that simple movement might spark.
Photo by Lance Baker