Forcing creativity can be like herding cats

Creativity is more like a cat than a dog. You can’t order it to come to you. You just have to make yourself available until all of a sudden you find it leaping onto your lap.

Susan Griffin

Cat lovers know that what works best with these independent creatures is patience, opportunity, and taking advantage of those moments of affection when they occur. Trying to coax or even worse, coerce a cat into doing anything it doesn’t wish to do is an exercise in futility.

Typically, those who don’t like cats often lament how aloof, even obstinate they can be and give up on them without developing a better understanding of kitty characteristics.

Being open to those furry felines on their terms is accepted by those who adore them. And with time, that relationship becomes more reciprocal as it progresses. Cat owners develop attunement with their roommates which leads to respect, love and more.

Artists often have a similar type of relationship with creativity. When it comes to you, its power can be miraculous and while we strive to embrace it when it visits us, we also long for it to become available on demand. But creativity has an ebb and flow in our lives and trying to force that creative spirit into our lives may backfire.

The more you expect to control the force of creativity in your life, the more fleeting it becomes. But being patient, using pre-creativity strategies like play, movement, or engaging in art activities you don’t normally do, can all work to create setting conditions where it becomes more likely you will find that special energy you are longing for.

When I sit down to write, and nothing comes, just forcing words onto the page feels worse than not writing anything at all. Looking for other ways into that creative state of mind pays off in several ways. The excitement I feel when I do anything that is creative like cooking, or grabbing my camera and heading out the door helps keep me feeling a sense of optimism. Plus it is just plain fun to let yourself be in the moment.

Often that is enough to break any type of creativity logjam and I am soon ready to sit back down to let my words flow as they need. Kind of like letting that cat decide all on its own to jump up on your lap, twirling around until it settles and gets comfy. When that cat begins to purr, or those words rush to the page, you know that all is just the way it should be.

Happy writing!