by Blake Herzog
When you’re a writer having trouble writing about creativity, you can turn to a dictionary definition in hopes of sparking something creative to share about it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
When it doesn’t, you start looking elsewhere for those original or unusual thoughts that can lead to the creation of something imaginative, whether it’s a painting or a solution to a seemingly intractable problem at work.
That’s a thumbnail version of the creative process. That inspiration can come from anywhere, and you look for it everywhere.
“For research that also fuels inspiration I follow two Facebook pages about the history of the community and those serve as a road map.”
Helen Stephenson, director of the Yavapai College Film and Media Arts Program and founder of the Prescott Film Festival, shared with Prescott LIVING Magazine a few sources of creativity she’s uses:
Listening to other artists — “I would take my daughters to readings at a bookstore here, and one year they brought Lynne Reed Banks (The Indian in the Cupboard) to speak. Someone asked her how she keeps the creative momentum going to write so many books. She said that she is always looking for an excuse to NOT write. And now she knows herself well enough to catch herself doing some mundane task and get back on track. That stuck with me.
“I had a deadline for a script. I went in to clean the kitchen. Way too thoroughly! Then, I noticed some clean tea towels that had some stains on them. So, I found myself with an eyedropper in hand, dripping dots of bleach on each stain. Lynne Reed Banks’ words came rushing back to me and I was back on task!”
Getting organized — “I love to create mixed-media pieces. It’s hands-on and the result of the work is immediate and rewarding. When I want to fuel my creative energies, I start organizing. Simply going through each tin of buttons, box of fabrics, container of ribbons, vintage gloves, hats, broches, beads, lace and old record albums gives me inspiration and energy. It is almost a meditation. I start to picture the end result, and that makes me want it to become a reality.”
Friends and family — “I have started a script about the place I grew up. I had a Zoom call with one of my childhood best friends, who now lives in England. That was encouraging and uplifting. I will run the rough draft past this friend and another childhood best friend, who now lives in Tucson. I have five siblings and they are a constant source of creative energy just by the conversations we have. It is remarkable how we each remember things from different perspectives, and I think that will give the project depth.
“For research that also fuels inspiration I follow two Facebook pages about the history of the community and those serve as a road map. ‘Oh! I forgot about that store! I remember that family!’ There are a lot of things I didn’t pay attention to as a child.”