Creativity Stops and Starts

So the funny thing about photography is that I spend a lot more time not using a camera than using one. It's a big transition from creating, sending, and following up on promotions to devising, setting up, and shooting personal work. I mean, doing the promotion stuff requires creativity, but it's "manage-ment creativity" not "artistic creativity". Sometimes I want to jump from one mindset to the other, and it's pretty jarring.

Last week, after taking care of a few loose ends with the shoes promo, I looked through my book of ideas, and found nothing funny, but I felt like doing something funny. Well, you know, funny like I do anyway. So I hunkered down and did some brainstorming and...nothing. Huh. I reached down, poked around, dug in, pushed a little harder, strained a bit more, grabbed my creativity by the neck and shook it.


It's easy, in a moment like that, to worry that it's broken, since the fear that your last big idea was your last big idea is pretty common.

But I was approaching my creative activities the way I'd had to approach my self-promotion activities, and they don't work the same way. Self-promotion is about order, discipline, polish, and being bombproof, whereas creativity is about emergence, perception, formation, and vulnerability.

So I relaxed. Kind of looked sideways at my creativity instead, let it come, listened. And shortly the first little idea appeared, and soon grew into a flood of material.

As a friend said, "Gotta let the wind whip the crinkles out of your freak flag".