Hello dearest reader!

I believe that all of us are creators, even if it doesn’t look a certain way according to society’s standards or whether we make a living from it or even if do it every day! As a creative person myself, I’ve learned recently that for me creativity doesn’t move at a constant pace. I don’t generate in the same way on a consistent basis.

Perhaps you feel the same way in your own life?

For me, recognizing this fact has opened up a lot of space and compassion for myself, and thus more feelings of peace in the present moment.

Even when ideas and inspiration come to me, sometimes it’s not always the best time to take immediate action on them. A mantra I’ve been using is…

I trust that what’s for me will not go past me.

Sigh. Doesn’t that just put you at ease?

Today I thought I’d share with you what my own creative process looks like, as you might find similarities within your own daily life!  Also, please note that this cycle doesn’t just apply to creativity. This can be applied to any area of your life, from how you feel energetically in your day-to-day, to how you socialize with others or give back to your community.

How I Flow with the Natural Cycles of Creativity

Gather

This is where I learn, consume, investigate and research information that I feel naturally called towards. It’s a phase of learning and consumption, data-collecting and being hyper-aware of my preferences (a.k.a what I like and dislike, what I’m attracted to, and what I’m not.) At this stage, it’s important to pay attention to what interests you and what doesn’t. This might look like taking courses, reading books, consuming content online, watching Youtube, asking lots of questions, interviewing others. This is the time to follow the natural curiosities that spark your wonder.

Percolation

The most introverted state. While I’m gathering data, I’m also quietly sifting, sorting and forming my own opinions to the ideas presented. My own ideas will begin to form while I’m learning and collecting, and I’ll now take some time to tune out and drop into my own intuition. This time is spent inward, in quiet stillness, and meditation. It looks like daydreaming and going on walks. I become more hermit-like, not really eager to share or talk to other people. Healing, meditation and shadow work also play a major part during this introverted phase. My online presence quiets down and social media takes a backseat, which is critically necessary for the next phase to take flight.

Creation

This is the phase where all of our collecting and contemplating halts (it can sometimes feel immediate! Like a strong gut response) and we jump into the driver’s seat! After a period of reflection, I begin the creative work. This is where I enter “flow state.” I become more extroverted and excited in this phase – I enthusiastically write flow charts, map out steps, have more actions I am motivated to accomplish each day. Creation is my favorite stage to be in! 🙂

Sharing

My most extroverted state, this is where I openly share myself and what I’ve learned with others. I become hyper chatty in my day-to-day interactions, naturally desiring to vlog, record videos, blog, and share. I excitedly start telling people about what I’ve learned and share what I’ve made. I become more social in person and more active online, wishing to share my enthusiasm. This phase can last several months (for example: when I started Simple Joys it lasted from April to October!) and can begin happening while in the creation stage.

Rest

This stage is imperative for all creatives. It’s a phase when we feel proud and grateful for all the great work we’ve made, but we’re also exhausted and in need of time to recharge. At this point, I’ve moved on from whatever it was I created and I’m ready for something new. (Enneagram type 7’s / Manifesting Generators, you know what I mean….) It’s now time to retreat. I celebrate at this point by going on a trip, spending time with animals and friends, spending lots of time outdoors, reading a lot of fiction novels and taking a lot of bubble baths. It’s equal parts play and equal parts chill. Still working and living my daily routine life of course, but I’m not necessarily creating anything big.

Then the cycle repeats and we go back to gathering inspiration.

So, dear reader, what stage are you currently in?

These past few months I’ve been in a stage of gathering and these last few weeks, percolating. At times I’ve felt frustrated with myself, wishing I could effort my way to getting more things done, creating videos that I’ve been sitting on, and just being more social with others. I’ve been feeling introverted and contemplative, as I’m learning and sifting through the gathering stage, to the point that even my husband noticed and asked me why I was being so anti-social! But no matter how much I yearned to take action, to be more extroverted and chatty, to make more, I knew on an intuitive level that I needed to take my time in that phase of gathering and percolation. I needed to really sink my teeth into the observing. I needed to be inspired by something new.

So, I allowed myself to be fully where I was at, and I had compassion and patience for myself when people requested more creatively from me online.

Being patient with yourself stems from self-trust. And self-trust stems from loving yourself fully.

So my note to you is this: be where you are. Commit fully to whichever stage you’re in. Honor your energy and how you show up.

It is when you rush the process, force yourself to skip steps and jump headfirst into something you’re not yet ready for, that things stop feeling fun. If you pressure yourself to take action and create something before your thoughts are fully realized, it may fall flat, or it might feel a lot harder to effort your way there instead of allowing it to free-flow from your heart! If we give ourselves time for our thoughts and visions to fully form, and have patience with ourselves throughout the process, the process of creating becomes way easier.

One of the things I used to struggle with in my creative journey was feeling like a green banana. For years, I felt like I wasn’t fully ripened and thus couldn’t really help or give to others because I was still naive and too young to have gone through the full spectrum of human experience. But what I’ve realized is that we all have things we can share on, in every phase of our lives. The subject matter may change, as our interests do, as we grow older. But there is still always something to share with others simply because we are here, experiencing life. No matter what our environment or circumstances look like, we all have something to share.

But just because you have something to share, doesn’t mean you’re fully ready to share it just yet. And that’s okay.

That could just mean you’re in the gathering or percolation stage, like I was recently in. Or maybe you’re currently in a phase of rest, and if so, soak up as much of that as possible because inevitably, the stages morph into new ones, whether we’re ready for it or not! This is natural.

Our energy inevitably shifts when we are rested. We’ll feel ready after we’ve gathered inspiration and developed our own ideas. Then are we truly ready to create something new and unique….and share it freely.

If you ever feel guilty for not generating an immense amount of energy or creativity, please remember that you are not a machine, but a human being with shifting interests, passions and emotions. I hope this post inspires you or brings you comfort on your own path. Remember that a creative journey is never a steady incline, but rather a dance. Creativity is a process and one that always moves in stages.

Sending you much love and a big hug,

Helena! ☀️

 

The Process of Creation – How I Flow With the Natural Cycles of Creativity

July 12, 2021

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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