A couple weeks ago I experimented with varying and limiting my time on everyday activities such as email and social media. In that time I added things like writing, reading and shooting (Photographing) personal work. I knew I had a wedding to photograph that weekend and I wanted to see how this might affect my creativity. So I shut down all social media starting on Thursday and read and wrote every morning up until the day of the shoot. The result was some of my favorite work of the year.
I woke up the morning of the shoot not really feeling any different. If anything I felt tired and it was raining… so that wasn’t very inspiring. I was convinced that all the work I’d put in was for not and I that was going to suck. When I started shooting though, things started to happen naturally. As in: I wasn’t actively thinking up ideas but they were just happening to me as I went along.
I believe this experience was something called “Flow.”
Flow is a term proposed by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and basically describes the feeling of getting lost in your work. This happens to me when things just start lining up due to preparation and immersion in the task at hand. It’s kinda like the Force. (yeah… it’s totally like the Force)
We’ve all heard that Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Luck= Preparation + Opportunity
Well, Flow is what happens when preparation meets opportunity meets immersion
Flow= Preparation + Opportunity + Immersion
So you prepare for it, look for it, get lost in the task and then look for it again. Don’t think that because you don’t have an idea for a perfect shot that the perfect shot won’t happen. It could, you just have to be there, be present, and make it. BUT in my opinion (and experience), the only way you can do this consistently and not burn out, is to take care of yourself creatively. You can’t leave out that part of the equation.
I am convinced that priming your brain by filling it with more awesome stuff will allow your brain to make more awesome stuff. Let your brain connect the dots for you and then sink into that feeling while you work.
Hey, it’s the same advice Yoda would give you.
May the Force be with you.
Happy Halloween Folks!