Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Keeping the Creative Spark

We work on our picture books over long deadlines. Our portfolio pieces are rendered with attention to detail in every stroke or pixel. All of this can be a fatiguing and may lead to a little creative burnout.

A couple years ago, I read several creative books about how to maintain your spark — books like The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch, and Creative Quest by Questlove — all of which I loved. 

A consistent recommendation through all of these is to follow your curiosity and to have daily practices in place.

For me, my daily practices include writing in a journal, meditating, and drawing in a sketchbook. No matter how much work I have on my plate, I try to make space for these small things that keep ideas flowing, help with problem solving, and keep momentum going. A quick daily practice (that takes 10-20 minutes to complete) can add that sense of progression and accomplishment that sometimes lacks in our longer timelines.

I often use Patreon as a space to share these works in progress and creative practices, which helps me share my creativity and process in a way that feels safe and sustainable.

Here's a quick exercise I offered to Tara Lazar's Storystorm this past year to help spark your creativity using a timer:

Storystorm is itself a great creative practice to try out: quick, idea generating prompts for stories by Tara Lazar and friends (30 new prompts every January!) so check out those archives for some more ideas.

What creative books have you found inspiring? What are your daily creative practices?

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Susie Ghahremani (@boygirlparty) is the author and illustrator of picture books STACK THE CATS and BALANCE THE BIRDS. She is currently at work on MEMORY GARDEN, a collaboration with her mom, author Zoe Ghahremani inspired by their Iranian-American heritage.

She is also the illustrator of WHAT WILL GROW by Jennifer Ward, WHAT WILL HATCH by Jennifer Ward, LITTLE MUIR'S SONG by John Muir, SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED by Marcus Ewert, and LITTLE MUIR'S NIGHT by John Muir.

She paints with gouache, wanders in forests, listens to vinyl records, and snuggles her baby nieces. 

Find her at: Boygirlparty | Patreon | Etsy | Fb | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

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