• Jolene Roehlkepartain

The Unknowing Part of Creativity

Nothing terrifies me more than sitting down to write and discovering…there’s nothing there.

What’s more disturbing is beginning to write and finding out (many hours later) that…there’s still nothing there.

Creativity isn’t something to turn on and off like a faucet. It requires nurturing. Tending. And a lot of faith and trust in the process.

A lot of people have written about creativity. Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way opened up the creative process to many people. Her suggestion of writing three pages every morning via long hand and taking a weekly artist date are both helpful. Yet, there’s more to the creativity.

  • Ignore everybody. That’s a title of a creativity book by Hugh MacLeod. He’s referring to Deep Work, which is another insightful book by Cal Newport. Creativity needs space and concentration.

  • Pay closer attention. While ignoring distractions (from people to the internet), creativity relishes in noticing and being aware. To details. To delight. To direction.

  • Play. Whenever my creativity stalls out, I stop trying to produce and instead play, play, play. Creativity isn’t a production line. Creativity is a wondering, wandering path. A key question creativity loves is, “What if?”

Jan Richardson, an author, poet, and painter, wrote in one of her poems. “Get up. Set out on the road you cannot see.”

That’s the road to follow with creativity. Get up. Set out. Create—even when you can’t see where you’re going.

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