Our creativity is enhanced by how much we feed it. Where we get our stimulus from. What we choose to immerse ourselves in. Inspiration and ideas can come from a range of sources. It’s important to broaden the range of our experiences in order to heighten our creative outflow.
Natalie Goldberg’s: Writing Down The Bones emphasises the importance of keeping our creative mind sharp and not succumbing to fatigue. Amongst countless exercises and suggestions about how to approach your craft in order to continually push your creative boundaries, she makes a point of likening our approach to that of a wild animal: When you are not writing, you are a writer too. It doesn’t leave you. Walk with an animal walk and take in everything around you as prey. Use your sense as an animal does – alive, watching, listening, smelling. This is how you should be when you are in the streets.
It’s something I try to reinforce as often as I can. Being aware of your environment, sharpening your gaze forces you to take in the world around you from a heightened perspective. Whenever I come up against writing blocks or feel a sense of overwhelm about my writing not moving with the fluidity I anticipated, I will force myself to move. I leave my computer, get out of the house and take myself on a long, extended walk. Usually along the beach. More often than not, at some point during that walk, I will have a sentence or answer to my initial roadblock.
Time and time again, I have experienced the effects of moving in my environment and how much it has helped in pushing creative stagnation. It’s a way of tricking the mind into a type of distraction that then forces things to shift. The less I focus on how challenged I’m feeling by the task at hand, the more flow I invite in to help push things along. When I’m on my walk I try to switch off and allow myself to be absorbed in the space around me. I don’t listen to music, instead I take in the sounds around me. The people passing me by, the water lapping at the shoreline, the traffic, my breathing, the movement of the wind and the rustling of the leaves. I shift my attention towards this and by doing so, change my focus.
My passions however aren’t limited to writing alone. I love photography, cooking, reverting to my childhood while chasing my 12-year old niece, swimming in the ocean, being absorbed in a good book, attending art exhibitions or contemporary dance performance, watching the sunset, getting caught in a sun shower, speaking another language, indulging in heartfelt conversation or the simple pleasure of just going for a walk…
Our passions don’t have to have any direct correlation to our craft, but they serve to fuel and nurture our creative fire so that our inspiration is being engaged by countless sources and the outcome of our work is elevated by how much effort we have put in to keeping our creative fire well lit.
Happy Travels…Paula x