Jenny’s recent post about using words to define our style direction, and the importance of the brainstorming process, made me think about the larger implications of this.
Like with true brainstorming, it’s important to let ideas and thoughts flow uncensored, unedited and unchallenged, until enough have been accumulated to start tracing commonalities and major themes. The key is to know when to stop the creative process and let the editing begin.
I don’t know about you, but I find that in life, many of us tend to turn on the internal censor (that ever present critical voice) way too early in the game. In fact, more often than not, we don’t even turn it off in the first place. I happen to believe that the ability to edit and refine is an invaluable one, whether it comes to style or life in general. But it’s important to know when to let yourself go and express, and when to turn on the internal powers of censorship. Culling too much too fast will render your creation lifeless, and it will end before it even began.
How to handle this dilemma? I think that it’s important to recognize the ever present balance of creativity and censorship within us; they are two forces that appear at first glance to be opposite, yet they are two sides of the same coin. Neither should completely disappear. However, there are times when one should take the wheel, while the other takes the back seat. So, before you engage in any creative exercise, like coming up with words to describe your style, take a moment to get comfortable and still your mind. Breathe in a few deep, cleansing, calming breaths. Make an agreement with yourself that for the next hour (or day, or longer) you will let your creativity come first. Ask your internal censor to take a back seat, assuring it that when the time comes, when it feels right, you will turn to it for assistance. Feel it stepping back and allow your mind and your heart to open, releasing the flow of creativity that resides within you. Keep breathing. When you feel yourself sufficiently open, begin your creative exercise.
As I mentioned before, it’s important to hold both our internal creator and censor in balance. If you find your creativity running away from you, if you feel like you’re losing ground, call on your internal censor and ask it for help in organizing your thoughts and ideas. Ask it to ground and calm you. Remember that it’s a continuous process. The key is honoring the balance, honoring both these forces within yourself, because neither can exist without the other, and you need them both to discover and nurture your true style.
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