Sunday 23 May 2010

Trust the Process

Knitting in the Sun

The past couple of months have been ridiculously busy and more seriously, creatively strained.

I've found myself feeling anxious and wrought over things that usually come so easily. Which in turn makes me travel further down the path of feeling quite horrible and not at all myself.

Serendipitously a book called "Trust the Process" by Shan McNiff found me while perusing the shelves of the Berkalouw Book Barn in Berrima.

I don't usually do well with the "self-help" genre... but this one has had me contemplating and pondering on the magic of the creative process. Things like:

"the total process of creation is permeated by hidden turns, elusive searches, and subtle appearances"
"It requires an inclination to step into the unknown as well as the ability to persist when there is no end in sight. The ways of creation are often paradoxical. When you think there is nothing going on, something comes to you, and when you want something desperately, it's never there."

Reading this book is helping me enormously to figure out how to get through those times of complete uncertainty, doubt, and negative thinking that often strikes during my making process.

My luck at working in a textile design studio where painting, drawing and other such things are an everyday occurrence has somehow affected my ability to create spontaneously, with abandon. Working to a specific brief within a certain amount of time can be a very satisfying process, but I'm wondering if it's taking its toll?

This blog describes my symptoms perfectly:

"Most projects hit a wall for whatever reason & frustration takes over. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: negativity about self/work/client, general crabbiness and a desire to throw the whole project down the drain. It can be pretty paralyzing.”

I hope this isn't sounding too dire! I'm on the path to getting back my spontanaiety! I wonder if anyone has a similar problem - how do you get through those difficult periods?


Kate said...

Ooh, what a provocative post, Emma!

I think my way is just to think about putting one foot in front of the other. In my thesis, I often got very fixated on the hill in front of me. If you think too much about the 'hillness', it becomes insurmountable. Just think about it being broken into lots of parts. And each part will come. Slowly, sometimes, but it'll come.

Hang in there - look forward to seeing your new creations!!

Feeling Fuzzy? said...

So true Kate! Small things are a lot easier to handle that huge ones... I'm going to think of you when next faced with a creative dilemma!


Olivia said...

oh i just came across this beautifully honest and reflective post Ems. So true - even though i am not a 'creative', like you, i too feel frequent moments of doubt in my abilities - both professionally and personally. I think I have come to see it as part of the natural, cyclical rhythm of living in the busy, busy world. And in times of doubt and blockage these days i find myself thing.."this too shall pass".. and so it does. In time. And i awake feeling fresher and re-motivated once again.
Anyway, you inspire me :)