The Lunar Technique: 3 Ways to Consistent Creativity
Pasty white, super round, always lurking, wholly made of cheese, been trampled on by men. Am I describing the moon or myself here?
Of course, there’s a lot more to her than that. I only bagged myself a physics degree so I could ogle her and call it viable revision. The moon is one of Earth’s most fascinating companions, our most organic view of art. To those who are spiritual, it’s the root cause to many behaviours. To those who are religious, the moon has connotations of our human ephemerality. To scientists, it’s the tether between life here on Earth and the infinite expanse of outer space. The moon represents some of our greatest achievements, it markers where our wildest dreams lie, it exists up there with our past, with our ancestors, with hope and possibility.
And to creatives: the moon can actually serve as a tool for consistent creation, of a cosmic quality.
1. Understand your phases.
The moon undergoes 8 distinguishable phases. New moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. It takes 27.3 days to revolve around the Earth, but from its “new” state to its next “new” state, the actual lunar cycle is 29.5 days.
And we function exactly the same.
We have phases. We go through cycles. We encounter ups and downs. Some days we are full of creativity, shining bright and glowing with ideas. Other days we need rest, start anew, let ourselves replenish our creative juices. There are days we can manage six solid hours of making and other days in which we find ourselves only able to churn out half an hour of creativity before we feel our energy waning. This is normal. This is expected. This is the cycle of being a creative.
Some days an idea might strike us, something so powerful and potent and possibly the only thing that will ever matter to us — these are our blue moon days. When we’re so overwhelmed with creative potential that it feels like the stars have aligned just for us. Then we enter our blood moon phase, when we bleed heart and soul into what we’re making. And along the way, we’ll likely find ourselves caught in an eclipse, when our ideas feel as though they’re concealed, hidden away, blocked out entirely. We feel stuck in the shadows. But then we wait. We rest. We let the sun slip into view once more.
And we begin again.
Once we understand that creativity comes with phases, that bursts of energetic output and moments of total solitude and stillness are part of the process — not mishaps, not malfunctions, not messages from the universe that we suck ass — then we can learn to handle them better. We can learn to trust in our abilities as creators a little more.
We feel like we must revolve around society, culture, history’s definition of the creative process — they set us deadlines, due dates, with standards we must adhere to, like the moon’s 27.3 day revolution — but actually, within and of ourselves, we have our own cycle of phases. Our own 29.5 days. We set our own standards, our own timings, our own boundaries.
We dictate our phases, we define our value because we are the creators. This is our process. Nobody tells the moon how to shine.
2. Embrace the tide.
“High and low tides are caused by the moon. The moon’s gravitational pull generates something called the tidal force. The tidal force causes Earth — and its water — to bulge out on the side closest to the moon and the side farthest from the moon. These bulges of water are high tides.”
The more you create, the more you put out there, the stronger your gravitational pull. When you are consistently creating and sharing your art with the world, you’re inevitably going to be seen. And the more eyes on you, the more likely you are to find the eyes of your audience, the people who are drawn to your work, who will reach out for you whenever you cross their path.
Whether it’s unedited, unfinished or (in your own mind) “unworthy” of being thrust into existence, that doesn’t matter. The moon is still beautiful even on dark and stormy nights. So get it out there, and do it now. Pull those tides, those people, your people in to you. Embrace their attention.
Let your creations be seen.
3. Werewolf transition.
Creators stumble hard when they fall. They bleed out. They writhe in agony. They’re a bit dramatic, to be honest.
Why? Because a blemish on our creative soul is a scar on our entire existence. If we fail at any point ever, we feel tainted. Like we’ve tarnished ourselves, damaged our abilities, cursed our own hearts. That’s how it feels anyway.
What we tend to forget is that: being a creative isn’t our entire identity. We are writers who also love to make tiramisu. We’re sculptors who play rugby on a Thursday. We’re stage-designers who once went to prison for shoplifting a pick ‘n’ mix from the cinema. We’re makers, but also we’re human beings who have favourite socks and songs and sandwiches. We wash up and cut our toenails and fall in love with the wrong people. We create, but also we live.
We’re human beings until the moon is full, high, glistening, and then we transition into the werewolf. We’re creators when our creative juices are flowing, when our ideas are glowing overhead, and when we’re making our things and practising our crafts, we feel free, like we’re running wild through a forest beneath the starlight, howling gleefully up at the moon.
And sure, this transition can be painful. Shifting from being a regular ol’ adult who’s just returned from their smear test (go get it done, gals. Asap) into a renowned doll-house maker in half an afternoon can feel like we’re snapping bones, stretching our skin, pushing our way into ourselves. Sometimes we don’t feel prepared. Sometimes we feel caged in. Sometimes it’s excrutiating. Even on days when the moon isn’t full and it’s actually 2pm on a Tuesday, sometimes we have to become the wolf anyway. And boy does it hurt.
But when we know that we aren’t always the wolf — that we are regular people who are allowed to live regular lives and eat regular foods (unless you actually do like chewing on live deer and stray hikers) and doing regular things — we don’t feel as paralysed by our mishaps. Our mistakes don’t suddenly redefine or wreck our entire identity. They’re just part of us, not all of us. If things go wrong in our creative world, we still have our other existing worlds to turn to for help.
When the wolf gets hurt — we can use our regular human selves to scoop him up, mend his wounds, take him to the vet, feed him some wafer thin ham, snuggle him on the sofa, let him sleep in the bed, just tonight, it won’t hurt, and help him heal.
Then the moon will rise and his yellow eyes will shine with a surge of creativity once more.
Live like you’re human. Create like you’re supernatural.
Shoot for the moon.
A “moonshot” is defined as “a monumental effort and a lofty goal — in other words, a ‘giant leap.’” It’s a project, an objective, a creation that is intended to have “deep-reaching or outstanding results.” That is, lifelong effects that resonate throughout humanity and embed themselves into the fabric of the universe, a landmark of your existence.
If we want to be consistently creative, we have to make like the moon. We have to be bold, bright and sometimes distanced from the other things that seem to occupy and concern humanity, just to grant ourselves the time to focus on what matters most to us: creating.
So stop searching for tips, tricks and manmade hacks into how to increase your creative output. Google doesn’t have your answers. History won’t help you. Not even tequila has truly got your back. All you really need is your own self and — if you hold your head high, look up, do you see it? — the moon. Do what she does and you’ll light this planet right up.
Aren’t all creatives lunatics anyway?
Oh hey, whilst you’re here: why not put the “em” into your “emails” and lob your name onto my mailing list for weekly em-bellishments on my rose-tinted, crumb-coated lens of life. It’s the equivalent of the reduced section in the supermarket (low value Weird Crap™ that you didn’t know you needed).