Creativity can be a complex, exhilarating and sometimes frustrating process. It feels profoundly satisfying when it is working, when your body and brain are firing together to produce your art, whatever that might be.

However, it may seem that you don’t get to create in that state as often as you would like, or that you have lost the ability to enter that state at all.

Sometimes we lose trust in ourselves and our ideas, or we feel empty of ideas and inspiration. We fear we have lost our ability to work and create, or we are in pain about something we wish to avoid and this is getting in the way.

Or, it may be that you may have no difficulty with your creative process, but you want some strategies to further develop your creativity: you want to build and deepen your process.

Approaching any difficulties with your creative process is two-fold. At a practical level there must be a willingness to experiment with strategies even when you are convinced nothing can help, or that those specific strategies will not help. The other aspect is to understand, for example becoming blocked: what contributed to it, and how it is something you are trying to do for yourself and not to yourself. Once you understand its purpose, it become possible to find a way to alleviate it.

The on-line self reflection and feedback section of this site is ideal for addressing creative processes, both how to deepen them or how to become unblocked or deal with other painful issues around your creativity.

1. Do one small thing.
Do one small thing towards your creative endeavour. Every day. Even if all you do is pick up your drawing pad, writing pad, musical instrument and walk around the room with it and put it down. Even if you write one sentence, draw one line, mix one colour, play one bar of music, look up one site for building your business. In this one small act you are reconnecting with what you want.

2. Keep a record.
Note what you do and how it felt, every day. This should take less than 30 seconds. Note briefly any thoughts or feelings you have, positive or negative. Note the things that stop you creating, or even stop you doing the previous exercise, including the idea that to do something that small is pointless anyway. Each week, read it over. Learn about your process and what is stopping you.

3. Decide to do it badly.
Set aside small blocks of time where you can arrange to not be interrupted. This may be when everyone has gone to bed or is not up yet. It may be in your car or the park at lunchtime. Get everything ready the day before. Then go to the place where you can do it, wherever that is. Start and try to keep going for ten minutes, gradually increasing this to an hour. Do it badly. The quality is irrelevant. The only important thing is to keep going, that’s all that matters, today.

The Artist’s Development Kit A great tool for thinking about and planning your development as any kind of artist/creative.
The Creative Whack Pack. Well-known, well-utilised, “it will "whack" you out of habitual thought patterns and allow you to look at what you're doing in a fresh way.” This also comes as an app for your mobile phone.
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery. By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The author/psychologist uses his now well-known notion of ‘flow’ (fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus) to explore the creative process through interviews with creatives in many fields from scientists to artists. Another classic.
The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life. By Twyla Tharp. According to Twyla Tharp, creativity is something that must be worked at but something that is within reach for all of us. Tharp teaches how to cultivate the habit of creativity, using more than 30 simple exercises.
The Artist’s Way. By Julia Cameron. A 12 chapter, 12 week programme to recover from creative blocks and all that stands in the way of you developing your talents, whatever they may be.
Manage your Day-to-Day: Build your routine, Find your focus and Sharpen your creative mind. Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. A series of short, practical essays by creatives and consultants on creativity on how to manage the day to day practicalities of a creative life.

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