Fasting for Creatives
After the wonderful response to my article a few weeks ago I decided to solicit some opinions on the concept from friends, bloggers and artists I respect. The questions on deck were…
~ Are there ways in which you Fast to help your Creativity?
~ Do you even think fasting is appropriate for Creatives and the Arts or are these areas where depriving yourself for any reason is not productive?!
I was overwhelmed by the generous, thoughtful response I received and I hope these alternative perspectives help you in your Creative Endeavors. To re-cap on why I’m fasting at the moment you can check out my article ‘Creatively Fasting‘ and re-read my response to the above questions at ‘Fasting for Creatives‘. If you have any opinions, insights or questions please feel free to comment and discuss…that’s what it’s all about… :)
Erin Fickert-Rowland of ‘Elysian Studios‘ is an Artist and writer of wonderful tutorials, inspiration pieces and creative process articles. This was her response…
At this point in my creative journey, when I think of “fasting”, it applies to “idea generation.” I am an idea junkie… I love thinking of new ways to create things: learning new techniques, communicating new ideas. Granted, there is “nothing new under the sun”, but there is plenty that’s new to me every day, and I love fusing old ideas together and giving my own spin to it!
At some point, however, a highly creative person must put the brakes on all the potential, possibilities and new ideas, and actually produce work! You must sift, sort and select the best ideas you’ve had and dedicate yourself to a period of production. As new ideas surface, they must be jotted down, but relegated to the back-burner until the production period is over and the new idea generation period begins.
I am about to enter a very serious stage of production! I have been learning so many new things about technology and modern business, networking like crazy, and preparing my studio/blog for production and now it’s time to begin!
So, my fasting will be restraining myself from getting side-tracked by new ideas. No learning new crafts, no purchasing new supplies just because they look fun, no dreaming up new technological components for my business, no new networking outlets (social media/local organizations), and I am not even worried about “selling” my work for the time being. I will produce!
Leah is a globe-trotting media wiz and art appreciator. She writes about her travels, loves and musings at Leah’s Home and is also taking part in the Bahá’í Fast at the moment….
I think any change to ones regular routine results in more creativity. The fast is definitely a change from regular routine. Your brain has to work a bit harder and approach things differently instead of just running on autopilot. And exercise for your brain improves your creativity. But I also think you don’t see a change in your creative achievements until after, when your energy levels are back up thanks to wonderful food! I also think the fast makes you more conscious of how you organise your time. It always makes me very aware how much time I spend thinking about food, buying food, eating food, cleaning up after eating the food! You realise how much time is spent on the mundane stuff instead of the amazing and creative stuff.
Alexandra Franzen writes everything you are thinking but were afraid to say out loud about marketing and hustling on the inter-web while referencing rainbows and unicorns…I kid you not!
I overcame an eating disorder as a young teenager, so I steer away from fasting, as a rule — in much the same way that a person with alcoholic tendencies avoids alcohol, or a person who is allergic to kittens avoids a pet store.
That being said, I’m a big fan of media fasts — abstaining from electronic distractions and stimulations, for a designated period of time. I find that “jumping offline” for a day or two has extraordinary effects on my productivity and creative ambition. I can only imagine what might happen if I unplugged for a week, or more! I might take over the universe!
Jessica Powers is a yoga instructor-craft fiend. To read Jessica’s opinions on the nature of fasting and her experiences of it check out ‘Creatively Fasting‘ (I’ve just updated it)…super interesting stuff!
…I’ve bounced back and forth, in and out of New Zealand for a year before being allowed to settle back in, and I still find that regular quiet time is needed. A media fast from news, television, and radio whenever I can means I don’t indulge in the group fear and can be more emotional available for those I come into immediate contact with, rather than exhausted by continuous undirected and manipulated emotional involvement (I’m aware at how harsh that sounds, but it stems from my experiences and observations)…several long, mindful exhalations between activities…not forcing myself to knit on works in progress if I really don’t feel like knitting right then…allowing myself a day or two a week during which I don’t force myself to practice yoga if I don’t feel like it (this is distinct from not having the time for it – time I make, feeling comes unbidden, it’s a balance to explore)…not writing back to emails immediately if I can tell they will be better served if I allow the topic to sit with me for a bit…
So – yes – fasting helps keep us Creative. In main, I feel, by giving us the opportunity to clarify our intentions and ability to channel the Divine Creative Source and have it, in the process of flowing through us clearly, become uniquely ours in its manifestation into the world.
As my Catholic family once beautifully pointed out: we let go of something for Lent so that we can have the space to develop our spiritual relationship. It’s not about denying something for 40 days and 40 nights, it’s about bringing in something we want more.
I’ve been taught this in yoga and pagan education: if we release something we must likewise invite something else in. Otherwise, in the vaccum created by letting go, the same energy released will return again, familiar to us and an easy fit.
The four steps that I consider relate to fasting are:
Intention – a stock take, if you will – what would we like to release, what would we like to invite; setting up the circumstances for our fast – what, when, where, why, who (you might fast alone but have a support system in place to back you up and cheer you on), time taken to do this carefully will be well spent because an intention you don’t feel entirely committed to will not benefit from your full attention and care.
Action – how we go about releasing – fasting from an activity, a food; using activities, food, affirmations, meditation, prayer, etc.
Invitation – how we go about inviting new energy in – meditation, specific actitivities, affirmations, prayer, etc.
Exploration & Embodiment – creating new paradigms and patterns that support the invitation and support and strengthen our letting go of the energy/pattern/idea we wish to release; this is probably the most time consuming, because of how energy creates pathways, in our neural patterning in the brain and in the subtle body.
Interested in reading more?! Check out these articles inspired by and building on the conversation we’ve started here…creative minds expanding on creative ideas!
» Erin Fickert-Rowland rolls with her musings for this article and extrapolates all the way to a whole new outlook on her creative life! With insightful questions and honest answers, she unravels how she motivates her creativity. To infinity and beyond!
» Adena Atkins, creativity mentor (am I allowed to call you that?! I feel you are to me…) and fellow ‘sustainable creativity’ blogger has pledged to broach this subject on her blog in the next week or so. Her current post is on the stages of productivity and, I feel, ties in completely with our discussion here…well worth a read…