During the week of our last One Creative Week Challenge, I spent a lot of time thinking about process. After all, the focus of the last challenge was on the process of photography. Each day I walked around with the prompt in my mind, turning it over and over, looking for a vignette, a moment, or a bit of inspiration for a photo (or ten!)
I realized, through this process, that I really love the process of process. I’m not just talking about the physical act of making something. I’m talking about all the other things that go into process. Perhaps this is why I have so many projects going on simultaneously (well, one reason at least!)
1. Process forces you to slow down.
When I’m fully engaged in the process of something I simply cannot hurry through. To be fully present in the process means I’m leaning in, I’m getting into the creative flow, letting whatever I’m making take me where it needs to. Process forces me to be mindful of the moment, to slow down and, even for just a moment, block out everything but the task at hand.
2. Process allows you to reflect while creating.
How many things in life do we do just to do? We drive from point A to B. We go through our routines without thinking about what we’re doing, about how we feel. Process gives you space to reflect. This week I found myself thinking again and again about the creative prompt of the day, about how certain photographs turned out, about the next picture I’d like to take or create.
3. Process gives you choices, and lets you change them when you want or need to.
I find that when my focus is on a product I am more limited in creativity. This is not necessarily a bad thing – if I am making a garment, for instance, I don’t want to just go off of process unless I’d like clothing that doesn’t fit (or worse!) But for other things, such as photography or painting, if my focus is solely on the end result I end up eliminating choices whether I’m aware of it or not. To open myself up to the process instead allows for many choices in the process and the opportunity to change my mind. This has led time and again to the creation of something unexpected and better than I could have hoped or imagined!
4. Process lets you put you into your art or craft.
The more time you have in the process of creation the more opportunities you have to put you into your creation. Those choices that you make, the reflections, the time you take to create – all these things let more and more of you get into your art. In a way, that’s what process is all about. It’s not just about creating that end product, it’s the unique path you choose to take you to the end result.
5. Process is cathartic.
When you give in to the process you’re no longer focused on the end result, you’re focused on the here an now. The stitches, the paint strokes, the pen marks, the feel of materials between your hands. This process of slowing down also allows your mind to rest, it’s reenergizing, it can even help you to emotionally heal.
6. Process is inspiring.
Sometimes I create things when I am not feeling inspired. Whether it’s just something to do while I’m bored, because my hands need to work, or because I’ve taken on a creative challenge, I don’t always create things when feeling inspired. Making simply for the sake of making. But so often the process of making leads to inspiration! Suddenly whatever I’m working on takes on new meaning or it inspires me to create something new. I think it’s the concept that ideas beget ideas and process is all about ideas, and thus, inspiration.
So what do you think – do you enjoy the process or process or would you prefer to hurry up and get to the end result already? Do you find the process of process to be enjoyable, or is it a bit uncomfortable for you? Why do you think that is? I’d love to hear your thoughts on process, please comment below!