A crucial part of the creative process is taking time out to reflect.
Making sense of your own creative process and creative practices is just as important as what you make. Reflection supports your creative process by helping you understand WHY you are doing it in the first place.
I encourage all of my students to keep a creative reflection notebook for two reasons: First, capturing your creative journey in realtime is an excellent way to observe the evolution of an inspired thought or idea. Over time you can look back and revisit what you wrote, sketched, or questioned along the way, and see how you resolved your creative challenges. Second, documenting your feelings and emotions during the creative process provides significant insights on how you are connected to the world around you. Being aware of your own sensations and reactions while creating informs your process and your creative approach. Being aware also sheds light on the choices you make in your creative contributions, your world beliefs, and what makes you tick.
Your daily reflections don’t have to be in-depth essays. Keep it brief and to the point. Write down one-sentence reflection statements, or use one-words. But whatever you do, make it meaningful for you.
Revisiting my notebook reflections always helps me see the common threads in how I approach and process my own creativity. Not to mention how satisfying it is to see what the building blocks have become!
Of course, not all reflections are focussed on positive outcomes and experiences during the process. It is equally as important to capture and document the moments of frustration and disappointment that come to pass, and any questions or inquiries that arise during the process. Taking note of everything is motivation to go deeper and to investigate further.
Enjoy your AHAs!
At the beginning of September I started a new practice. With the intention to publicly share a glimpse into my daily creative practice, I began posting ‘Creative Dailies’ on Instagram. What was originally thought of as a 30 day challenge for myself, has now turned into a daily creative action (I am on day 56 as I write this) that inspires me, and my followers.
Throughout my journey of posting the CREATIVE DAILIES I have also been keeping a notebook of DAILY REFLECTIONS alongside each day’s creative action.
Some of the reflections I noted indicate that I have become more inspired, and feel more open, and my favorite, when I pursue a daily creative practice I am less hesitant to act on my creative impulses.
As a part of the creative process I find that taking time out to revisit my reflections is an enlightening experience. As I build up creative momentum my energy begins to shift, and my emotions change from one week to the next. This is why documenting the process is so valuable to me. My reflections are a clear way to “show my work” and measure my growth.
Creative reflection doesn’t have to be time consuming, and should never be forced. Instead, allow it to be a gift you give yourself. Approach your reflection time with honesty, and most importantly, do it for you. Find your own methods and your own purpose. And never forget to enjoy the connection you make with yourself and your creativity along the way.
“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”
― John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer.