Do you know your creative process?

Do you know how you arrive at the blank page, the blank canvas, the empty stave, the empty stage?

Every artist has a process. No matter what the art, we all have a starting point, a river of habit that takes us to our art. But do you know what yours is? And, if you do, are you happy with it or do you constantly feel it should be faster/earlier/easier/calmer/more ordered … just somehow not the way it is? 

From my experience of my wonderful fellow creatives, this pre-creating process might include:

making 5 cups of tea

going for a walk

procrastinating until the last minute and then pulling an all-nighter

obsessively checking your phone for emails and/or social media

putting in a load of washing

telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow

ordering – tidying, washing brushes, polishing, filing (this is my one)

going on-line to check out how other artists do it

going on-line to buy just one more oh so totally essential item …

We all have a process. The trick is to know what it is, to value it and to claim it as your own.

Every house I have ever bought has had a studio space in it. Sometimes I would buy it for the studio more than the house. My husband and I had a particularly mad phase where we bought a house in the country with an acre of land. The property had a beautiful barn and my amazing husband converted part of it into a studio for me. It was a beautiful studio with everything I could want. Was I thrilled, was I over the moon, did I move in straight away?  No!  I was paralysed with fear and did not even step into the studio for weeks. The next stage was furtive little forays into the space, where I would do a little ordering and guiltily rush out again.

I began to realise that my painting was so important to me and the fear of rejection so great, I would have to approach it gently and kindly and with baby steps.

10 years and several studios on, fear rarely appears in my process. But I still circle. I still order. The difference is that I now know that this is my artistic process.

It is vital to know your own creative process. You may view your creative process as procrastination. Even if it is, it is part of your process. Julia Cameron in her seminal work ‘The Artist’s Way’ likens it to the way a dog circles several times before finally lying down. Whatever your personal circling looks like, it is yours. It is part of what creates your inspirational, unique art. And the world wants and needs your inspirational, unique art.

So know your creative process and own it, fellow Creatives! It is yours and it is what births your creativity into the world!


  1. I suspect I might be the one who walks. Certainly you raise such an important point, that it’s vital to know your own process. I think of the times I would ‘circle’, doing so much else other than the work itself, and beating myself up for not just getting down to it. That’s such a negative energy to drag to the desk or easel. Whereas now I know when I am working, that it happens when I’m walking, and even when I’m sleeping. The moment of sitting down to the computer is simply the latest part of the process, not the first action. It’s experience that teaches you to trust yourself and also being honest with yourself.


  2. That’s just it!
    If you reach your blank page through a mist of self-attack, then what are you bringing to your creativity?
    It really doesn’t matter what your creative process is. What matters is that you identify it, claim it and be ok with it.
    Here’s to Circling!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I envy you no longer having fear as part of your creative process! It’s still very present for me and I think always will be. I often put on the washing at the start of a writing day I think subconsciously there’s a bit of me saying, ‘Well, even if you don’t write a word at least you’ll have clean clothes/sheets and the day won’t be entirely wasted’!


  4. This is spot on. So important to own your process. I walk and think and go online to check how other artists do it. Often looking out rather than in, looking for ways to ease the discomfort of circling. The ironic thing is it’s only once I’m in the midst of the work that’s the discomfort eases! Love the pic of your studio.


  5. Thank you so much, Rachel.
    And you are right, once in the middle of the work the creativity and creative escape takes over and everything becomes more than worthwhile. Which makes you wonder why we make such a fuss of the circling.
    We are far from simple us Creatives(!)


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