Candle flame

I’ve learned over the years that creativity is like a candle-flame. It’s delicate and it flickers from time to time, and sometimes it even looks as though it might go out altogether. Yet it’s powerful. A single flame has the ability to ignite the mightiest of fires.

It’s important that we take care of that little flame. There have been times in my life when it had apparently been snuffed out altogether. It’s very easy to get despondent at such times, for it’s accompanied by a great sense of frustration and loss. But thankfully it’s never died for very long. Eventually something would happen to spark it back into life and before I knew it there was a blazing fire of creative inspiration.

It can be helpful to know when the creative flame is in danger of being extinguished, so we can prevent that from happening.

I’ve found the following factors can have a bearing on creative wellbeing:

  • Stressful life events and situations, including family problems and poor health (it’s all-too easy to get caught up in these and to lose our connection to our muse)
  • trying to exercise too much control over things — either the work itself, or the outcome or success of the work (ie, head overruling heart. It’s actually best to simply let go and surrender to the flow of creativity and life)
  • comparing oneself to others (a form of self-flagellation — most the time wholly unfair, misguided, not to mention hugely unproductive)
  • self-doubt. Probably the most lethal of all! Self-doubt can easily become the cancer of creative wellbeing.

Recognising these factors and the way they can potentially affect you in an adverse manner is the crucial first step. Awareness is always half the battle. When we’re unaware, we’re unable to make conscious choices and the resultant train wreck is perhaps inevitable. But when we realise we’re veering into inhospitable terrain, we can make a necessary course-correction. We can either navigate around the approaching obstacle, or if that’s not possible, we can simply work around it,  being sure to take extra good care of that delicate inner flame.

It’s also helpful to identify the things and qualities that nourish and sustain our creativity — and use them to keep the flame burning. It’s when things get difficult, as they often do in life, that we must take the greatest care of ourselves and our creative wellbeing.

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