Creativity: Pump 9

I love to meet other artists and have a piece of their work signed! Super Indian, Vol.2, by Arigon Starr

As a graduate student, I find myself, on occasion, being dragged down by the amount of reading and writing and thinking required of me on a daily basis. And talking, let’s not forget about the pressure to not only read 125 pages of text in a week but also to be prepared to articulate this reading in a coherent manner to peers. Needless to say, the academic workload can drain my creative energy.

There are a lot of life circumstances that can drain a writer’s creative energy: young children, household responsibilities, a deadline for work, all of the above. No matter the circumstance, chaos has a way of entering our lives and stealing the energy artists need to create their work. As writers, it is important to find ways to re-energize ourselves. Even writers who are fortunate to have time everyday to write need to refuel their creative tanks. How does one go about replenishing creativity?

One way, for me, is to attend a live performance: a literary reading, a play, a stand-up comedian. Aside from being entertained and escaping reality for a few hours, I also learn more about other artists’ crafts. For instance, I recently went to a performance by Arigon Starr, a Kickapoo singer, actor, and comic book writer. In addition to being a charismatic performer, Starr also spent time discussing the craft of comic book writing. Listening to her talk about the difference between pencilling and inking as she displayed panels of her comic book, Super Indian, stimulated my brain. I was fascinated by the way she integrated her storylines about contemporary Native American life with bold-colored graphics. And lastly, I enjoyed Starr’s comments about her struggles as a creative person: learning new skills, making the right connections, funding. When other artists share intimate details about creative challenges, I always feel connected and less alone with my own artistic struggles.

What I love most about live performances is I relax. I relax by laughing at jokes or dancing to music or enjoying elaborate costumes of actors. I let the artist’s performance wash over my mind and my senses and I come away refreshed, inspired and ready to tackle my own creative project.

Of course, going to a live performance is not the only way to replenish creativity, and in future posts I will explore other ways writers restore their creative energy. Until then, what do you do when your creative tank is running low? Feel free to share your stories in the comment section below. As always, I’d love to hear from you!