As creatives, we feel the constant pull to create, the desire to pursue ideas and bring them to life. It’s what we’re made for! Unfortunately, this doesn’t always result in a free and easy flow of artistic energy. We constantly contend with friction that inhibits our creative expression.
Friction is anything, large or small, that disrupts or slows the flow of your artistic energy and it can happen at any point in the creative process.*
As an example, let’s think about what it takes for you to get creating. Do you know where you can work? Is that space available or do you have to negotiate with others or deal with clutter? How about supplies? Do you know what you need? Do you have everything? Can you find everything? Is it such a hassle to get everything ready you don’t even want to start?
These are just a few practical points of friction that occur before you even begin. (I get a bit stressed just thinking about them!) This is why we so often dream about, read about and pin photos of artist studios that are perfect in every way. We imagine an environment that doesn’t impede us, that supports us. That’s a wonderful aspiration to work towards and we want to be able to create right now, right where we are.
Looking at these examples, how might we reduce friction so it’s easier to get creating?
Can you claim a space as your art space? Even if it’s not used for art all the time, choosing a go-to creative space eliminates decision-making (and potentially negotiation) and thus, friction.
Clutter in the way? We creatives tend to have a lot of stuff. Instead of berating yourself about it, find a strategy for working with what is. Honestly, I’ve often just piled things on the floor while I worked and put everything back when I’m done. It’s not a long-term solution (unless it is) but it did allow me to get to work! Another helpful strategy is separating the act of clearing from the act of creating. This ensures you’re not tired out before you even begin. As an added benefit, you don’t start to associate creating with the hassle of tidying.
This last strategy can be also be applied to your supplies. I take inspiration from my grandmother who would set the table for breakfast before she went to bed. It was magical to wake up and see juice glasses and cereal bowls at the ready. How would it feel to get your space and supplies prepared in advance as a lovely gift to your future self? With everything good to go, you will be able to glide in and start creating. Any friction in the preparation has already been handled.
This week, take some time to actively assess where friction lives in your creative process. Then experiment with ways to lessen or eliminate that friction. Remember, this isn’t about needing the perfect environment or coming up with a perfect solution. It’s about finding ways to get to your work. Every little bit of friction you clear makes the path that much easier. With the persistence of water wearing away at rock, over time you will wear a smooth path for your artistic energy.
Your creativity matters. Help it flow.