“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young
A spark. A stroke of genius. The lightbulb moment.
No matter what you call it, the times where our creative endeavors seem to bubble from us like a freshwater spring are probably as close as we as humans will ever get to divinity—hence why so many authors, artists, and musicians spend much of their careers trying to find it. And when they do find it, try to keep it going.
This state of near-invincibility in creative pursuits has a name: flow. And it’s a heady drug of a feeling.
I’ve experienced flow both as an artist and as a writer. As an artist, I remember the times where the rest of the world seems to fall away, and I’m lost in the action of creating so completely that I lose track of time. Everything I try seems to work, every brushstroke or ink line perfection.
As a writer, I’ve experienced it as writing a scene and everything clicking into place like puzzle pieces, situations and characterization I hadn’t even planned aligning like a constellation of stars.
It’s hard not to love the experience of flow. It’s the rest of creativity we have to learn to enjoy.
Because the truth of it is, if you want to be a writer, an artist, a crafter, anyone who wants to create anything, you need to be willing to trudge through the times where you wonder if you’ll ever re-experience flow. When you think that you’ll never feel those god-like moments again.
You cannot wait for inspiration, for flow, to create. But the more you create, the more you’ll experience flow. It’s a flighty thing that is attracted to hard work and perseverance.
I live for the times were creativity is like a spark. But sometimes? You gotta make do with embers.