How to Work Your Creative Thread

You aren’t going to “pass” on that, are you??

If there is one thing I learned (both the easy and the hard way), is to trust my creative thread. At the end of the day, by doing that I manage to produce my best work, make the biggest difference and I am also the happiest. But that thread, well… is only a thread. In fact, it can become invisible, or so thin and fragile it can’t hold much. We need to work on it….like on all good things such as strong legs, ideal weight, rewarding relationships or a stellar show (are you thinking the one I am thinking???). So, there are three things to do (over and over and over…):

1. Reveal

Let me beef this up with more words: crack open, discover, find, expose, make seen, recognize, appreciate, get in touch with… More clear now? We all have things to be revealed. Endless actually, and it’s not about revealing our secrets (although, who doesn’t love a great secret…).
The good thing about this is that we will always have something new to reveal. Some times, it’s things you know. Not even secrets, just things you know and you keep them inside. Other times it’s things you have sensed momentarily, but not really got in touch with. You feel a familiarity with them, an attraction, but you still feel separate from them. Other times, its things that are completely out of your radar (although I believe that all these have been around for you in a different form, only you haven’t made the connection…)

Let me give you a lill’ xample here. I started taking my own self-portraits many years ago, because I needed them for my website–not because I thought it was a fantastic practice, or I felt drawn to it.  I just checked and my first play-photoshoot was on March 23, 2014. Wow, time flies! I never before engaged in that kind of activity. Not the medium or the subject…

Or, at least, so I thought. After I started creating these, an old friend of mine reminded me how I created a whole roll of “selfies” at my first trip to London. Waaaaay pre-smartphone era.  I named that series “Following myself in London”. I didn’t even call them selfies (how could I?? they didn’t exist!).

After additional recollection (with help!), I also realized that in my end-of-college-project, I used a picture of myself in a card. It was not a selfie, nor a portrait (according to me). Just a cutout picture. THERE. The bell rings already, TWICE. My dad, who is also an artist, created a whole series of paintings featuring himself. I thought it was the most narcissistic thing then, and I couldn’t digest the subject. Related? You tell me…

In high school, I made a drawing of myself with no hair, and used the shape of my dad’s head (he is completely bold). When I tried to determine the shape of mine by using my hands to feel the shape of it, I could tell we have the same. Not related, ah?

I even illustrated a children’s book where the heroine took some pics of herself in a Photo Booth. Hm… My latest “remembering”, is about the first camera I ever got. I was in first grade and it was a tiny, bulky Kodak, with a cassette style film. Remember that one??  I remember how not-worthy I felt when I got it. “What?? A camera for my birthday??? I am only in first grade! I am a kid!”, I kept  thinking and saying. See how the thread works?

Was that the reason I wasn’t for years interested in photography?? Who knows. But the thread was there, whether constructive or destructive. The message was delivered.  So, yea, when I took my first Self-Magic Portraits sequence, it was my first, but not really. It was the first time I was aware of the practice though, and I went for it intentionally, completing one cycle and opening a new one. Lots of revelations, ah?

How to reveal yourself?

The key is Self-Inspiration. Follow your desire and attraction. Be willing to look in the mirror (metaphorically and for realz). Recognize (and talk) about your soft and your hard spots. Look for the common within your past interests and activities, and connect the dots. Start seeing (and showing) your Big Picture. This is the power of the creative thread. It takes you far, by keeping you close… much like a spiral…   [Tweet “The creative thread takes you far, by keeping your close…”]  

2. Raise

Although this sounds obvious, it can be missed… unless you are totally following your intuition, so then you won’t. Here you have to work it with bravery. To volume up. To do it bigger, louder and more. To exaggerate. To go over the top (in small steps…). To excavate and expand. To exhaust the subject. To bet on it and build it up. It also means to own and celebrate (big) your individuality. To stretch your personal preferences and be the only one qualified to choose. Feels Refreshing?

At this stage you will need to push the envelope in the playground, so you can have it easy in the battlefield. It’s also the time to build excitement to carry through your missions, otherwise you’ll find yourself with… a flat tire. Not a bad practice ah? Will guarantee you no wishy-washy results, for sure. And the best part of this: When you raise your voice, you find your voice. No doubt.

A subtle but good example for this, is camera and make up. If you want to look natural in a video, you need to put on makeup, even the most basic kind, even men! Go without, and you will look dull or sick. It’s the “extra”, that makes you look healthy and “normal”. The exaggeration. I started writing little over a year ago. I still don’t see myself as “converted” from the visual realm, but something has been moving, and moving big time. And the more I do it, the better I become at it. The more I ask myself what I stand for, or what is my message, the easier it becomes to see it and say it. (I am also practicing to ”find my voice” by using stickies-only on social media. THAT works too!!  I have been called the Queen of Stickers…)

So, the higher the (creative) stakes, the bigger and bolder the goal, (book, course, deck anyone??), then the clearer you come out. More whole.

How to raise the volume?

Consider your courage, voice (visible, heard, written), presentation, authority, standing ground, daring… and stop doing it “for the process”. If you want to write better, write more and dream up bigger and more courageous projects. If you want to become more visible, well, find at least one practice/medium that suits you, and give yourself to it as if your life depends on it, (but in small steps)… If you want to be heard, start recording yourself. When you read a poem, read it with passion by coloring your voice. If you want to be a better artist, commit to come up with your unique signature style, that is hard to imitate and sets you apart… A better coach? Take what you learned and already practice, and jump it up with your very own process. Yup, building up your creative thread will always get you offthe known, liked and trusted ways, and into risky (and rewarding) waters. * Serious tip for this one: be willing (and even actively look forward) to laugh at your self. The easiest way to get your brave on!  

3. Refill

It’s a cycle. And a cycle does not function with only what is in it. The laundry machine, will not give you clean clothes if you don’t add water, soap, and preferably softener too. So, even though you are a glorious, creative human being, with more ideas than stars on a clear night, more passion than Beyonce, and more ambition than Trump (sigh…), then you need to fuel, nourish and honor your creative self, on a regular basis.  And to do that you need to get off your mastered medium. Now you can devote yourself “to the process”…

How to fuel up?

If you write, grow a garden. If you create art, sing. If you are a strategist, play with sand. If you are a chef, play with lego. If you are a dancer, create flower mandalas. If you are a coach, swim in the sea. This is how you fuel up. No demands. No deadlines. No expectations. This is how you invite the magic from the little back door, often missed. Make time for this. Regularly. Cos’ to be the fountain, you need to refill your cup, all the time. 

SO, your turn now!

Did something came up while reading this, that connects you to your creative thread? Do tell in the comments! I live for these things!!! 🙂