Creative flow

What the body reveals about our creative process

What the body reveals about our creative process

Before I began to treat writing as a practice, I didn’t pay attention to the way my writing process felt in my body.

At best, I noticed a dull pressure in the center of my forehead whenever I would start picking at word choice or sentence structure before the work would benefit from such editing. I would lose myself in an online thesaurus, repeatedly delete and replace a comma or dash, reread and rework a single sentence because something just wasn’t flowing — and I’d never make it beyond the page (or paragraph) I was mired in. After an hour, the pressure would be a full-blown headache and I’d have to step away, disoriented to my original generative impulse and unsure how to return to that state of spontaneous creation.

When creative tools become creative obstacles

When creative tools become creative obstacles

The flow of my dreams — the ones I’ve been working with to support my creative process — waxes and wanes, depending on how active I am in my practice when awake.

I noticed this in the last month after coming out of an intense dreaming period: multiple dreams per night, several nights per week, for nearly five months. The flood of detail was so vivid that I was almost relieved on days when a dream dissolved before I could capture it.

I can’t not write these dreams down, I told myself. But receiving so much information felt like trying to drink from a fire hose. And with so much to process during my limited work hours, I had no time left for creative action.

On observing the ordinary

On observing the ordinary

Bigger happenings naturally invite us to make record of them. Births, graduations, weddings, deaths — all the events that can be looked up in the archives of a newspaper. But I’m drawn to the ordinary moments, the ones that risk being forgotten, like the details in a dream. They have a tendency to blur, to fade, to merge or fuse with other memories, leaving faint impressions at best if I don’t note them with intention. Maybe it’s because they are so easily lost that they cause a certain sort of anxiety, a creative tension that wants to be unwound on the page. I’m afraid of waking up one morning with a deep sense of ordinary time spent — but no way to make meaning from my fuzzy recall of how I spent it.