Allowing the creative process is not procrastinating

In this time and age of light speed communication and hyper efficiency, it is easy to feel guilty about spending any period of time not producing any tangible results.

Sure enough, leisure time, free time, is considered by most either a waste or a luxury.

I consider time as my most precious asset in this life. And I do not buy into the need of extreme busyness.

As an artist, I learned a long time ago that I need what one could call idle time to really function at my best, and I became aware that what I call “allowing the creative process” could be mistaken for procrastination if I did not know better.

I am not saying that I never procrastinate, because I do, at times, like anyone else. But despite their similarity for an outsider, procrastination and allowing the creative process are fundamentally different.

As a creative and lively being, I happen to not function in a linear way but to have natural rhythms that need to be honored for my best work to come through. Hence the periods of “idle” time, punctuating the over all momentum of my daily life. And I believe that most creative people go through some version of that.

So, how do you know if you are falling off and loosing your focus, getting sidetracked and swamped in genuine procrastination (perish the thought!) or if you are only honoring your creative process?

Very simply, there is no avoidance in the latter, only the urgent need to pause and let go of linear thinking, obligations, goal seeking and performance setting. The primal need for inner space, for freedom, for a kind of time stretch. Interesting things happen when one allows for this to take place on a regular basis: unusual thinking occurs, ideas pop, insights come through and the right brain is having a field day, which usually comes with some exhilaration as a bonus.

Because I allow myself the free time necessary to my own creative process, I can “feel” acutely what a painting calls for and sometimes it entails taking a sharp turn in its execution. Like with “Upside down, sitting in the sky”, which I started with more defined clouds and subliminal shapes, then went for an almost full abstraction:

Upside Down Sitting in the Sky

Would I have not taken the time and let my mind wander long enough, forcing the initial idea on the canvas, this powerful image could not have come through…

Procrastination doesn’t serve the work.

Procrastination will get you busy doing inane things and eating junk food while everything that needs to get done overshadows the moment no matter what, polluting the meager pleasure you could have got in getting away with the moment. Procrastination doesn’t feel good. One just wastes precious hours avoiding what will eventually have to be contended with. It’s a stolen reprieve, it has a lower vibration. It is definitely not life giving.

Allowing the creative process by contrast gets our  batteries recharged, and our spirits high; it comes with gourmet treats and hugging trees, with gazing in the distance and stretching our toes in the sand with pure delectation. This is a time well spent. Without it we would not function optimally and we would burn out and crash. Our muse would be throttled and our inspiration stunted.

Allowing free time for the creative process to take place is a vital part of the work I do. And yes, for many it looks like luxury. Maybe it is. But again, I believe we all are entitled to have it and enjoy it.

Here is to your creative process!


Comments

Allowing the creative process is not procrastinating — 4 Comments

  1. Beautifully expressed, Emmeline! As a creative writer, the ideas most often simmer in my brain during quiet times until they boil into a fully seasoned concoction that can be put into print. When I let myself become too busy, the creativity wanes.

  2. Great observation and that is what can be accomplished with mindfulness. I love the soothing, sublime energy of the painting.

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