I’m working out this idea I had the other night. It seems there are two forces at work, when it comes to making things. There’s the spark of one’s creative energy, and there’s the resulting bubbling of ideas. The trouble is, these two things are asynchronous.
Me, I have clear and wonderful energy first thing in the morning, but it takes a few hours for my brain to catch up. If I have art time before work most of what I do is sit at my desk and push pieces of paper around, or test out different brushes, or draw a bunch of circles. I am working — I’m warming up — but I rarely produce anything that I want to take to completion at that time. It’s like I’ve turned on the burner to “high”, but the kettle is still cold, and it takes a while to get going.
As the day goes on I sort of plateau as far as the creative energy goes — I’m forced to focus on other things — but the brain REALLY takes off. By mid-day I am almost boiling over with ideas. Take the kettle off the burner, turn the burner off, don’t want to WASTE energy. When I get home I have a list of things to do, but the creative energy is cooling down. By evening the creative energy is pretty cold, but the brain is still going, and I have to really struggle to focus on the less-interesting-yet-very-important things like eating dinner. I tend to read a lot at night if I am up late, because it’s hard for me to work after dark but I still have brain-bubbling to use up.
I think a lot about well-being and How To Be At Your Healthiest And Happiest, so this non-congruent line graph of creative energy and brain energy has been really fascinating to me. It’s important to create an environment that is conducive to making things, so that it isn’t a struggle to create things at the precise moment you feel like you need to. But it’s just as important to pay attention to your own energy rhythms and use them to your advantage. And, whenever possible, to schedule your life around them, so you aren’t up to your elbows in paperwork when really you need to be making kites or whatever it is you need to do.
I know it isn’t always possible, but it’s a good goal to have.
I was thinking about all this when I went to Anthony’s class on Dewey today. Without saying anything in particular, we created an environment for creation to take place, setting out construction paper, magazines, crayons and gluesticks. And everyone blew me away with the wonderful pictures they made. Everyone’s kettle seemed to be boiling quite nicely.