How can we harness our seasons of creativity to help navigate the ups and downs of creative life and be creatively super productive?
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We could consider that the different stages of our creativity align with nature’s seasons – Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring – and use them for inspiration.
The first step is to not force ourselves to be producing non-stop.
Just like the weather, there’s always a consequence!
If it’s hot for too long things get dried out, there’s no rain and things don’t grow.
If there’s an issue with the balance between the seasons we feel it!
The creative process is the same and aligns with nature, with feminine energy (or your menstrual cycle) and energy cycles for all humans. Yes, there is masculine energy too and it is said to cycle within a 24 hour period!
It’s a tool we can utilise to strengthen our creative being and to feel good as we’re creating!
To me, that’s the most important thing!
“Creative work has seasons. Part of the work is to know which season it is, and act accordingly.” – Austin Kleon
My Seasons of Creativity
Over the years of reading, researching and reflecting upon my own process, I’ve come up with what I call the four C’s to my creative process and my creative energy.
The 4 C’s
Clarity (or Collate) – Autumn – “Prepare the creative foundations”
Use this time to make a plan as to what you want to focus on, how you plan to do it and in what timeframe.
You could also look back on the past few months or year to see what worked and what didn’t to help you plan the upcoming months.
Let’s use an EP or album creation and release as an example.
I often create a 90-180 day EP release schedule for my artist development clients.
We timeline what needs to be done, key dates, who needs to be involved and how much money will be needed (in a separate budget template), all leading up to the release of the project.
We take the time to get clear on what we want to do without the pressure of trying to make the album as well.
You can also use this as downtime for rejuvenation!
This is the perfect season to plan for that, as well as looking back on what worked and looking forward to what you’d like to tackle next.
Consume (& Consider) – Winter – “Plant the creative seeds”
Keeping with the EP/album release project plan, this phase would be the “refilling the creative cup” time.
Use a period of time to get inspired. Watch music documentaries and listen to LOTS of music.
Brainstorm ideas with no pressure to flesh them out. You may record a few demos to “consider ” the inspiration you have collected.
Create – Spring – “Blossoming and birth of ideas”
Now it’s time to record the final takes and create the music!
You may be writing charts for the band if you are using one. You’d be recording the vocals in the studio and finalising the production. You would also allow this time for mixing and mastering.
Focus your energy on making the music.
Try to not worry about planning logistics, needing to do a tonne of meetings or promo.
Ideally, you would hole yourself in a studio and focus all your energy on creating.
Connect – Summer – “Share your creations with the world”
I see this phase as the time to get the music to the people.
If you aren’t releasing or performing in Summer (as you can release at any time of the year!), perhaps it’s a time to get out to watch other bands, network, meet new people in the music industry and share your music.
Performance is a key skill to master. Put all your energy into nailing your live show and connecting your music with your audience.
Understanding Your Seasons Of Creativity
There is no right or wrong to any process but challenges may occur when we work against ourselves.
Think about the last time you tried to push through to finish anything whilst being super tired or unwell! You may have got it done but did you enjoy the experience?
For example, writing a song in the studio when you are meant to be recording it is tough! It’s also a waste of time, energy and money! In an ideal world, you would turn up to the studio with 99% of your songs ready to go.
On the flip side, sometimes we even beat ourselves up about our unproductive creative downtime.
We often refer to this as a “block”, but really, if we look to nature for inspiration we see there needs to be downtime. It can be a time when not a lot is being produced and there’s an opportunity for rejuvenation.
The seasons each serve a very clear purpose.
When it comes to the creative process you can be at any season for however long is needed.
With feminine energy or the menstrual cycle, for example, women have a roughly 25 to 30-day cycle and each week serves a purpose.
Over time, you learn to read it, track it and you learn to work within it!
Where Are You In The Creative Seasons?
It’s the same with the creative process.
It’s about understanding where you’re at and finding a way to make that season work for you.
New, Emerging Artist or Established Artist – we all need different levels of support at each leg of our development.
However, the creative process is the same.
The stages may differ in length, but they swing round predictably like nature’s seasons.
We can enjoy the process if we work with these seasons as opposed to fighting them.
Acknowledge what season you are in and try to focus within that.
However, allow yourself grace if things aren’t going as well as they could or if you are forcing productivity in a clarity/collate phase!
Have you noticed these seasons of creativity?
How do you navigate yours?
I’d love to know your thoughts. Please share them below.