A beautiful day for sitting outside with this inspirational book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The sun and birds singing and breeze and fresh air offers a sense of freedom and open space that gives me a good mental space for writing. I am reading Big Magic with my Creative Book Club. I love leading a group with such creative minds, and am inspired by them. We are currently reading the chapter on Enchantment, where Elizabeth Gilbert writes about creative genius and where it comes from, and also talks about the concept of “flow” or “being in the zone.”
I’m sure many of you have heard of this, and experienced this, especially if you are a creative yourself. Flow is the idea that we are so immersed in writing, art, or other kinds of creating, that we lose track of everything–ourselves, the time, our environment, the people and sounds around us, and more. It’s an amazing place to sink into, also known as “being in the zone.” Hours can go by and feel like twenty minutes. We might look back on our writing and think ‘wow, who wrote that?”
Gilbert discusses the historical Roman and Greek perspective on flow, as “being taken care of by some external divine creative spirit guide” and she says this: “I only rarely experience this feeling, but it’s the most magnificent sensation imaginable when it arrives. I don’t think there is a more perfect happiness to be found in life than this state, except perhaps falling in love” (pg. 67). I agree with her completely.
Flow, or being in the zone, doesn’t happen everyday (although I wish!). But when it does, and we suddenly feel that passionate connection to what we are writing and making, it’s very rewarding. All stress, worry and anxiety goes away. Our thoughts and problems seem to disappear. Our outer world gets much smaller, and our creating gets bigger.
I hope you get to experience this wonderful state of creativity, and I have three points of advice to help you:
1) Show up everyday: like a farmer working his farm fields, we have to work our creative fields. Never have I sat down after weeks of not writing, to find myself in a space of flow. It only comes when I show up for the work, day after day, and then at some point, creative inspiration shows up too and surprises me, like a wonderful visitor I’ve been watching for at the window.
2) Inspiring space: Where do you love to write? What can you add to that space to make it feel cozy, inviting, and creatively inspiring? In what space do you feel most safe and creatively free?
3) Trust yourself and the creative process: the blank page can be very daunting. As can a piece of clay waiting to be sculpted by hand or on the pottery wheel, as can that blank canvas waiting for your first brush stroke. It’s all laying before you like a giant red carpet, but you have to take that first step. It certainly can feel like stepping into the unknown and simply having to trust. Even the first few strokes or the first few pages may not turn on that creative ‘aha’ moment, but if you trust yourself and the process, I promise, eventually it will come.
If you want to join our Creative Book Club, just click on this link and send me your email, we would love to have you.
You can join at anytime, even if you don’t have the book, and haven’t read the book. I share enough readings from the book that you can follow along with our videos, Facebook group, emails, and discussion questions.
It is so good to learn about and participate in the creative process with a community of creatives around you. After Big Magic, we will be reading another title on creativity and/or writing. The title has not been chosen yet, but I am tossing around some great books in my mind.
If you want to see my thoughts, book reviews, and videos on the creative process, please follow me on Instagram @creatively debra.
Hope you find creative joy today!