Remember the creative process I touched upon in my post yesterday? Today, I’m talking about stage 2 of this process : incubation.
You’ve been trying hard to solve a problem, get some ideas for a project, finding that missing piece that will make your art work complete, move forward with that article you must write…….You’ve prepared yourself for this creative task, but it still isn’t coming together.
And then you are taking a shower, going for a stroll, doodling and then inspiration strikes you!
Mozart that great composer expressed it so well:
“When I am… completely myself, entirely alone and of good cheer — say, travelling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.
Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them.”
– Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
So when you’ve prepared yourself, all you have to do is wait. Like a pregnant woman. Until your idea is ready to be birthed!
No point in worrying. No use trying to force creativity. Don’t try to control the process.
What should you do?
Drift to create.
The French intellectual, Guy Debord, called this dérive (French for ‘drift’). While for him it sometimes meant wandering drunk around Paris, the idea is to lose yourself in the landscape around you. To stroll aimlessly.
Brenda Ueland in her book If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit called this ‘moodling‘ : So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.
If you can’t ‘stroll’ literally, you can take a walk online and keep reading unrelated stuff. I tend to listen to music and sometimes do nothing and find great value in that.
Julia Cameron recommends an ‘Artist Date’ for all creative people.
Artist Dates are assigned play.
The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it. – Julia Cameron
Drifting to create…Have you ever tried it?
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m on Day 3 of 31 Days to a Better Blog – ‘Promote Your Blog Post’. I think we all find ways to do that. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest and Tumblr to do this. One new way I learned today is to get other bloggers to share links to your posts in theirs. Here are 11 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Linked to By a Blogger.
I guess I’ve never consciously thought about it, but I have to admit when I do that most of my good ideas do tend to come when I am just drifting. Great piece Corinne!
Given your busy schedule, I’m sure that’s how it works for you, Rena.
Drifting. I love this. I can use this as great imagery to support my efforts to stay in the now. Thanks!
Staying in the now – I attempt to do that too, Anna. Thanks for your fantastic comment.
So very true that things sometimes can’t be forced no matter how hard we try – it’s when we step away that the ideas flow. I love the idea of drifting to create!
I think you use other artistic pursuits too as a method of drifting, Laurel.
Drifting to create works. Many times that gives us an opportunity to see things differently. Things that we would not have thought otherwise. Great post and food for thought!
Ah! I see you’ve tried this, Parul.
Drifting is a great way to just let go.When we let go we are amazed at what can really happen.My greatest ideas come when I least expect it. x
I love this post… I do this frequently to get my creative juices flowing…
This is a hard challenge! Don’t worry about missing a day or two. Just come back when you can!
Hi Corinne! WOW! 31 days of blog posts? That wears me out just thinking about. 🙂 But I definitely agree with the idea of drifting or moodling you way to ideas. Some of my best come in that way. Thanks for the reminder. ~Kathy
Hi, Corrine! Great post – I always find it helps to sleep on things or put them aside when stuck. I came upon your blog through Elena’s Linky party! Pleased to meet you. Marina
Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way has been a huge inspiration to me. I once found a stack of copies in Book Sale at a hugely reduced price and bought the lot to give out to friends. What you are saying here is very true. Drifting is part of my working day now. The pay-offs are enormous in terms of finding answers to problems or developing ideas. Being in the shower or on the treadmill are brilliant idea generators for me.
Great post! I crank my Pandora up and dance for half an hour. I put a pencil and pad down. Many times i get great ideas while dancing.
What a great idea Lily!
So much fun, Lily! Thanks for sharing.
Oh my gosh, I love this thought process!! Probably because I find it to be so much how I work. I find it works not only in my creative life but in my financial life, my married life, my work life. The less I THINK about my problem the easier the answers seem to come!! I like to think it is God intervening as I am actually taking time to listen and not think!
So nice to hear how this works for you in other areas of your life too, Robyn. I’m convinced that we need to be creative in our relationships too.
Interesting stuff, Corinna. You are absolutely right that sometimes it just takes time for an idea to marinate.