Creating things is a very enlivening process. The nature of making stuff is that it comes from the center — that impassioned internal something — that humans often hide from the rest of the world. Sharing one’s creative work is a revealing, an open-hearted act that for some is quite scary. This hiding and revealing can lead to addictions of every sort (anything from too many YouTube video views to illicit drug use) and to inspiration of a massive magnitude.

Set Creative CourseSome artists (naturally, I count musicians among these) ride these highs and lows of planning for the next piece of art, creating it, its completion, and sometimes the doldrums until the next wave. The expectation and preparation can sometimes be more enthralling than the result. And this in turn leads to the downer once the “product” is ready. Counteracting the negative part of this cycle requires a conscious choice: choosing

A Compass for the Creative

So, the creative process is a vulnerable one. The artist reveals that often-hidden core which is the essence and the curse of the imaginative being.

I know this from experience. I completed a project 17 days ago and only now, I’m beginning to shift into the place of going full-tilt into the next one. These more than two weeks have had plenty of moments of inspiration, creative ideas percolating, and so on. But full throttle commitment to a new creative endeavor has been absent. That requires just the right combination of open-heartedness and intentional focus.

I’ll offer one post per day for these last five days of 2012 in order to facilitate my own creative movement and inviting you along for the ride if you choose. I think that if we can grasp this combination of hiding / revealing in a conscious manner and set course for the current project, we can start the new year with a passion for our creativity and ourselves that will keep us on track.

What gets you passionate about your art work? What helps you set course at the beginning of new creative projects? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Hang on tight. Here we go!

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14 Responses to Set (Creative) Course (part 1 of 5)

    • Without having read the other 4 posts, Stan, I can already tell I’m going to enjoy this series! I love the dissection of the creative process and am always fascinated to hear artists discuss what inspires them to create, so this has multiple points of interest for me.

      From a purely technological standpoint, I think the last decade has afforded us all – but especially artists – many more platforms and channels to expose some of our fragility. We all have areas of life that are difficult to address and generally find solace in sharing them with others. Where as in the past only a handful of family and friends (if that) may have been available to do so, we can now find like-minded individuals to understand and empathise with our more difficult aspects of existence. That fuels sharing vulnerability, which in turn feeds the ways and means we choose to express it.

      I would comment further, but I’m already eager to see where the conversation goes in post number 2!

      • muz4now says:

        Awesome response, Steve. I always appreciate what you write and the way you write it.

        (Musicians: if you haven’t become a regular reader of Steve’s blog, now would be a good time to start!)

        You’ll find that some of the themes you mention get further attention in the series, so… I can’t wait to read what you have to say in response!

        Thank you.

  1. Stan,

    I like your offering of one post per day for these last days of 2012, preparing to begin the new year with creative passion leading the way. Very cool!

    I am inspired and recharged in my passion for my art when I witness other artists embracing vulnerability and embodying creativity. As I see creativity come alive through the hands and voices of others who are passionate about their art, I am reminded of how amazing and wonderful it is to create, to follow my passion. I am reassured that vulnerability is so worthwhile.

    • muz4now says:

      Thanks, Susan. Several things in your comment make me curious. Here are a couple of them:

      • Is witnessing other artists the only way you are inspired (and I’m guessing the answer is “no”)? (See part 2 for some prompts on inspiring yourself, by the way!)
      • For me, vulnerability is an attractive quality and you seem to talk about it in the same way as you describe observing other artists. This leaves your last sentence begging us to ask: “Why do/would I ever block myself from expressing my vulnerability?”

      Those questions definitely connect with my ideas (and the part 2 posting) in this series. I’ll be interested to know your response.
      Thanks again for dropping by and I’ll be seeing you around the blogosphere/Twittersphere/IRL!

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

      • This conversation is really great for me, Stan; it’s so good to think about and actually name those things that inspire us as artists.

        Witnessing other artists is not the only way I’m inspired. I’m realizing that there are many, many sources of inspiration for me, and your “part 2″ has helped me to identify these. Now that I am bringing them into conscious awareness, I can make choices to connect with these sources of inspiration more & more.

        Yes, I see vulnerability as a highly attractive quality, and I want to embrace and express my vulnerability. The only thing that keeps me from being vulnerable is fear…fear about how I will be perceived, fear of rejection and abandonment, fear of being exposed in a way that feels unsafe. I think, as I enter 2013, I want to focus on ‘letting down my guard’ and daring to allow myself to become vulnerable…even when it feels like a risk.

        • muz4now says:

          Awesome response, Susan. Go for it!

          • This talk about fear and vulnerability seems to be cropping up everywhere I look these days.
            It is my most alive growing edge right now, so I suppose I am noticing it everywhere because I am thinking about it all the time.
            Walking our creative journeys in company is envigourating.
            Let 2013 be a year we walk into our openness more fully despite our fears.

            Kate

          • muz4now says:

            Yes, it does seem to come up frequently. I “blame” Brene Brown for all of her work on shame/vulnerability/courage/etc. But seriously, her work (i.e., TED talks, books, blog, and so on) have had a significant influence on society and on me personally. Once I started to explore this stuff, it’s been hard not to give it some attention.
            I really appreciate your last line which I’m seeing as a blessing: “Let 2013 be a year we walk into our openness more fully despite our fears.” I will take the liberty of changing it from “a year” to “the year” for now.

            Playful blessings,
            Stan

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