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  • Writer's pictureevviemarin

Gentle Reminders to Stay in Flow

Photograph: vintage flat lay on a white lace background. Two glass desert goblets in the center. The amber glass holds three broken whelk shells, cracks as to reveal their inner spirals. Plastic pearl jewelry spills from the gold goblet to the green one. One necklace ends in a rusty skeleton key and filigree charm pendant, set with a sky blue stone. To the sides, antique spools of thread and beaver-chewed sticks from a woods.

Oh hey, I transferred my blog to a fancier platform. This article is from April 2019.

Creation is thought plus revision.

You have thousands of thoughts a day. You couldn’t stop thinking if you tried. You think in your sleep. Only a few of those thoughts have to be interesting enough to create a piece of writing.

Only a single thought has to be interesting enough to create a piece of visual art. Anything can become engaging through sustained focus and beauty.

If you can have one good conversation in a day, you can create one piece of work in a day worth sharing with others. Everything starts with a seed. Start with the first thing you see, hear, or know. Start with what little you know needs to land on the page. There’s always more there than you think!

Fear of the blank page lies. There is plenty to make, and no need to see every detail before you begin. The mind can only hold so much. Intricate works have to unfold in physical space. Creation is infinitely flexible. You can always change it later.

You can fuck up. You get as many do-overs as you like.

Watercolor Illustration: A matching, vintage pitcher and mug, yellow ochre with a floral print. A chaotic swoosh of good things pours from pitcher to cup: fiddlehead ferns, owl feathers, fungi, ropes of pearls, beaver sticks, and dandelions.

Not everything you make has to be seen or shared. You can keep it to yourself. You can scrap it. You can wait and tuck it away for later. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. ​Notice when you’re making it harder than it has to be, and relax. Take a break. The more you practice recognizing the interesting thoughts as they arise, the more thoughts you catch in real time, and the easier it becomes. Notice your mind and let creation be an easy thing. Always be near paper, or a note-taking device. Practice making something every day, even if it sucks. Your work isn’t you. Crappy work is a teacher, not a character flaw.

If you spend a couple hours making, and don’t like anything you’ve done, it’s resting time. Do something else. Refresh your input. Do just enough to maintain your creative habit, but don’t force a production day on an off day. Off days are guaranteed, and also not flaws. Flow needs beats and rests both. Rest, sleep, and hydrate, as a baseline in health, and extra in sickness. Rest between projects, if only for a day. Record any interesting image, scrap, or notion that crosses your mind in a scraps book or file. Think in series. When one scrap pops up, ask what might pair with it. Feed your scraps collection, and you’ll always have the next project lined up as you complete the last.


Got any notes, tips, or variations you want to share? Add a note, share some advice, or ask a question in the comments! Crave more quality creative tips? Sign up for my newsletter to receive exclusive shop talk, process shots, art tips, and creative exercises.


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