11 Dec 2015
9. Finding your flow
Flow, that magical state of creativity or expression, somehow you feel at one with your yourself, your words, your music broadcast from your body without any thought, all external stimulus if filtered by this ball of energy that surrounds you, you are unaware of the course of time and all but the most essential requirements shut off.
What we create during our flow state is not only magical but productive. Ideas come to us with so much ease they don’t even feel like ideas. So why can’t we remain in our flow state forever? why isn’t their a switch to turn it on?
Well as with everything human things are never straight forward. There are upsides and downsides to our flow state and as great as it can be for our artistic endeavours it can be very bad for our health.
To many artists, flow state is our ultimate state, the ultimate place to be a 100% pure artist where you become a transmitter to all expression in your head. Reaching our flow state is just like enjoying an activity. We enjoy things that we are good at, we enjoy things that don’t stress our insecurity and principles. Lastly we enjoy things when we are in the moment, we are not comparing this moment to the future expectations or the past experiences. So lets now equate this to flow:
We are more likely to be in our flow state when:
- We are doing an activity we are good at.
- We are free from stresses of every day life.
- We minimise our expectations of the activity.
- We aren’t comparing it to past experiences.
So solutions to this would be:
- Improve your skills, your knowledge, your experience of your art
- Create and express your art in a place away from your everyday chores, distractions, commitments and responsibilities. This could be a room or a corner in your house or obviously a separate studio or stage.
- Keep yourself in the moment, don’t set expectations, if we fall short of them we feel failure and insecurity creeping in. If we exceed them we could get to excited and our ego squashes our emotional state.
- Again keep yourself in the moment but not comparing to how well this session is going to the past. Again it can produce feelings of failure or overbearing excitement.
Ok sounds fairly straight forward but if flow state is so useful for us as artists why isn’t all this more instinctively accessible?
Because flow state can be dangerous. Being 100% absorbed in a task for hours means you are not focused on the dangers around you. These days we are pretty safe in our studios but 100’s of generations ago this could of made you prey to any any with a distaste for art and a taste for humans. Also i don’t know about you but in my flow state it amazing how i can forget to eat and visit the toilet then soon as i stop creating feel these urges return to me. Imagine what would happen if our flow state lasted for days rather than hours…….
So you see ,flow isn’t a magical state of focus, it’s natural and can be achieved with the right environment. Try it out a let me know how you get on.