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Mini Series: Finding Flow

In keeping with this month's mantra, I want to explore the ways in which we, as creatives, find our various states of flow in our creative practice. The first point of examination is to pinpoint exactly what we refer to when we say flow.

To me, finding flow is entering a steady state of creative energy. It;s the idea of a creative reaching perfect homeostasis in the capacity of creativity where they are physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced and engaged in the work they are creating. It is a state in which energy output is easy and things progress at a natural, consistent pace. To find this elusive state of flow, however, is an entirely different story, one fraught with trial and error, patience, frustration, and strategy.

In the studio it is easiest to enter flow as a choreographer when presented with the dancers. For me, I find that choreographic flow after the 40 minute mark. Unfortunately, that only gives me and the dancers a solid 20 minutes of learning new choreography, and depending on the day that co0uld be 8 counts, or 32 counts. In my writing flow looks like a constant stream of words. When blogging I can feel the moment everything snaps into a state of flow; the ideas are concise, it all ties together, usually after I’ve made a list of bullet points. But I can never truly predict when flow will happen, especially in my novel writing. Some days it just doesn’t come together, and other days, creating feels effortless.

My Top Tips to Helping YOU Find Your Flow

Create Ritual - I find this to be most useful in my practices. The more ritual I create around my sessions, the more probable it is that I will enter flow. For dance it’s a warm up and going over the last bit of choreography we learned. In blog posts it’s creating a rough roadmap to focus the discussion, and for my novels it looks like just sitting there and getting word on the page consistently. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to pick up where you left off.

Do the Thing - You’ll never enter flow if you avoid the activity until you feel flow, or sit around and wait for it to strike. Flow comes from doing the things, getting comfortable and losing yourself in the act of creating. Connecting to the work is incredibly important, but that can only happen when you choose to show up and do it even when it’s hard, even when you feel uninspired, and especially when you don’t feel like it.

Keep an Open Mind - Going into a creative session with a rough roadmap of what you want to do is great, but going in with an exact, extensive checklist and plan of attack may hinder more than help. Keeping an open mind is critical for being open to flow. Rigidity can cause you to get stuck and blocked without an alternative route. Keeping an open mind when you begin to create opens the door to possibility, and on its heels flow may follow.

Follow Your Curiosity - Sometimes we simply cannot focus on the task at hand, or our brain for whatever reason, really wants to go off on a tangent. Let it. Allow yourself to follow that curiosity and try new approaches and different paths. Your curiosity can lead you down dangerous rabbit holes, or it can lead you to find a solution to a block you’ve dealing with and snap you into a state of flow.

Minimize Distractions - On the other hand if you are prone to distraction as I am, find your triggers and minimize them as best you can. Flip your phone over, turn off the tv, put on noise cancelling headphones and hunker down in your favourite chair. It takes me twice as long to write a blog post when I have my show on. We’ve found that if I need to get writing done, having my husband play on the PS5 with me in the room gives me the background noise I need to dial my brain into focus mode without being enticing enough that I want to actively pay attention to it.

I hope these tips can help you find your flow, but remember - forcing flow never works, just show up for you creativity and the rest will fall into place.

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