Friday, 19 September 2008

Flow And Creativity

I write. A whole lot! From short stories when I was young to my diary full of pre-teen angst to non-fiction books and journal articles when I was a lecturer to blogging and novel writing now… it’s always been a large part of my life.

For many years, I thought that writing was how I got into a state of Flow. Whenever I managed to find time to write, the words would pour out of me, entire sentences and paragraphs already seemingly downloaded into my brain. My fingers would fly over the keyboard trying to keep up. And I had this lovely flowing sensation in my chest area, kind of a warm loving, joyous sensation.

Now, however, I understand that, for me, writing is less of a way to make Flow happen and more of an outcome of already being in a state of Flow.

When I am already experiencing Flow, then writing is effortless. In fact, it is so easy that my first draft is usually also my final draft (apart, sometimes, from a few minor tweaks). The entire structure of an article and the wording is already formed, and it seems that all I do is copy it down from the non-physical to the physical. When I’m not in a state of Flow, though, I may as well not even bother sitting down to write. Absolutely nothing happens – it’s writer’s block to the nth degree! Even if I do manage to squeeze a few words out, I always end up deleting them or drastically changing them in a complete rewrite when I am back in Flow.

To get back into a state of Flow, I focus on my breath. I’ve found that this is my personal access point to Flow. It doesn’t matter whether I’m focusing on breathing while doing a traditional sitting meditation, or a walking meditation, or even washing the dishes – all of these get me back to my breath and consequently help me to open up that inner space again, through which Source energy can flow. And, as Eckhart Tolle describes in A New Earth, “All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness.” It is a source of constant inspiration and guidance.

Many of you reading this blog are also writers… I’d love to hear about your creative process and how you get into a state of Flow. Do you write at set times each day or week, or do you write only when you feel inspired and in a state of Flow?


Evelyn Lim said...

Inspiration comes to me from various sources. Sometimes it is through a chance chapter that I've been reading in a book, sometimes from what I'm currently experiencing, sometimes from a remark by a friend. However, if I have problems in developing a story, I'd leave it for later. If an inspiration comes along during meditation, I'd go back to finish the piece that I'm writing.

I'd agree that some of the best pieces I've written comes from being in the flow. I'm able to complete a piece in less than half the time normally required.

Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul said...

I definitely only write when I'm inspired. The flow will already be there, and then the words in my head and heart just continue themselves effortlessly onto the page.

If I try to write something because of a posting schedule, it just doesn't seem to work out. On the other hand, if I absolutely have to write something on a certain day, I ask my Guides to inspire me about 24 hours ahead of time, and usually I receive what I need.


Irene | Light Beckons said...

I'm with Andrea on this. Which is also the reason why I don't post as often as many other bloggers. You'll probably laugh at this, but I'm going to tell you anyway - sometimes I get my inspirations when I'm in the bathroom! No kidding ... of course the content has absolutely nothing to do with whatever I was busy with in there, but still, sometimes it leaves me wondering why my guides choose to work with me this way, gosh!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Evelyn - I've always been in awe of how inspiration sometimes comes from the most unexpected sources! An offhand remark by someone, for example, can seem so arbitrary on the face of it, yet provide the exact creative guidance needed!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Andrea - Asking guides for inspiration is a great piece of advice. I remember you writing about this in a bit more detail on your blog, and I'd recommend that others read that (if they haven't already!).

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Irene - LOL! Yes, inspiration can even come when in the bathroom! Maybe because we're usually alone, shut away from the busyness of the day?!

I don't mind if the bloggers that I follow post less frequently than conventional blogging wisdom usually recommends - the inspiration comes through so clearly in their posts that each post is so beautiful and valuable. I get so much out of blogs like this i.e. like yours! (and Andrea's and Evelyn's!).

Marelisa said...

For me inspiration comes from the way in which different ideas connect or tie together. I'll find an interesting idea, put it in my notebook--my swipe file--, and awhile later (maybe the next day or even six months later) I'll find something else that ties in with the original idea to create something new.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Marelisa - Keeping a swipe file is a great idea. It can spark such interesting connections when one looks through it, and even the very act of choosing something to go in there seems to ensure that the idea stays with us and allows our brains to make the connections later on!

Cath Lawson said...

Hi Mags I'm reading so much about flow. I think I really need to read that Tolle book.

I usually have no trouble getting the writing to come out but it usually needs a lot of editing - especially the fiction.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Cath - It took me a while to get into writing fiction, with lots of rewrites until I started finding my 'voice' :).

And yes, I'd recommend Tolle's book ;).

Anna Conlan ~ Healing and Insight said...

Hi Mags,

I ask for inspiration and it tends to come at inconvenient times, like when I'm about to fall asleep!!

I always leap out of bed and start writing in case it goes out of my mind. Sometimes I can be up until 3am writing and then the next morning I'll read it through and wonder if it was worth staying up for :-D


Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Anna - That's funny! I've experienced something similar, where I've had a (seemingly) great insight in the wee hours of the morning... but in the light of day, well, I often wonder what I was (quite literally) thinking!

Sometimes, though, there are some gems in there, and it can be worth it to keep writing it all down just for those alone :)