Wednesday, September 14, 2011

identifying your creative process

Yesterday went so well! I stayed on my schedule all day and it felt so good at the end to have accomplished so much work. I am itching to post the photos I made but I'm making myself wait! I realized that when I share them right after making them, I feel this urgency to hurry up and make something else since I've just revealed my new material. But making creative work takes just a little more time than that and I don't really like to hurry through it (who does?).

I realized a few other things as well. I don't think I can do photo shoots five days a week. I hate admitting that because I love the idea of the 30 day challenge, but I just don't know if I can make it work for me. When I have a really good idea, I just want to keep working on it all day until I finish, and when I don't have a good idea yet, I think I should spend the time brainstorming, sketching, reading, etc. until I do have the idea, instead of forcing it. There is a lot more to my work flow than just shooting, and I need to make time for that.

I've learned a lot about my process through all of this and I am excited to keep going. Even if I'm not shooting every day, thinking about, researching, planning for, writing about, etc. my creative work five days a week is going to be a big improvement. I tend to put those things off in order to do my everyday responsibilities like lesson planning and grading, assignments from classes I am taking, etc. But really it's just as important as those other things which have clear deadlines. Also, not photographing every day will give me a chance to work on other creative endeavors, such as screen printing, drawing, and sewing, because being an interdisciplinary artist is important to me.

In the writing seminar I took this summer, we spent some time talking about our creative processes and work flows. We had about fifteen minutes or so to make a drawing of our creative process! This was mine. I enjoyed this exercise because I think it's beneficial to try to identify the cycle of your work. Ask yourself a few questions:

1. What inspires your creative work? Personal experiences, nature, society/media, other art?
2. From that source of inspiration, where are most of your ideas coming from?
3. What can do you to encourage more ideas? Writing, sketching, reading, conversing, exploring?
4. What keeps you from producing as much finished art as you would like? Lack of time, a mental block or fear, lack of ideas?

For me, answering these questions helps me pinpoint areas of success as well as weakness:
1. I'm inspired by my own experiences, objects of significance, and the way we live our everyday lives.
2. My ideas usually start with a personal story and from there I relate them to my feelings about the culture I live in.
3. I get a lot of ideas from reading, brainstorming in my sketchbook, and writing down personal anecdotes. I also find that having good conversations with certain people helps me develop my ideas further.
4. Usually I put too much pressure on myself to come up with a good idea right away, which gives me that sort of "writer's block" feeling. If I start brainstorming while I'm in the middle of another project, I feel more relaxed because I have more time to come up with something to work on next before I find myself in between projects.

Tell me about your creative work flow!

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