Death And The Creative Process

A red hot sunset in Mildura, Australia.

It's been another scorcher here in Melbourne today. It reached 44C in the suburb of Clifton Hill, where I live and, after a very, very late night at the desktop, I decided that I needed to turn what was looking like a difficult day into an opportunity. I’ve spent too many days, so far this summer, in my little office in front of two 27" monitors and a range of other heat emitting electronic devices. The solution was simple: today was a great day to sleep late and then catch up on paperwork.

Ready Or Not, It’s Time For Dinner

Do you remember paperwork? I hate it and, even after today’s efforts, am only about one quarter way through mine, but in line with my New Year's Resolutions it's all going to be sorted by the end of January. Do you know that old joke

"How do you eat an elephant."

"One bite at a time."

To Be Reborn First You Have To Die, A Little

You see my year really begins on February 1. January, and in fact most of December, is the time I use to complete all those unfinished tasks and projects I'd planned to do during the previous year. Rather than a holiday (I allow myself 3-4 days off from Christmas through to the end of January) the month of January is a kind of purgatory that I have to work my way through. But, as in so many other things, the fun comes through the work and it's going very, very well.

I'm confident I'm going to come out of it on top with the dust well and truly settled. What this means is that I start the year, from February 1, in an incredibly positive manner. Without an inbox full of stuff to do I'm then able to begin to empty my mind. To do this I undertake the following:

  • Long walks
  • Sunday drives into the country
  • Watch visually beautiful movies
  • Listen to mind-expanding music
  • Look up at the clouds and the night sky

While my eyes and brain are processing all this beauty my mind is filling with positivity while, at the same time, discarding negativity, pettiness and other life-defeating dross. It’s a great way to re-ignite the creative process. It’s when I know I can do anything I set my mind to. And it’s the perfect time to start doing just that.

A family interacting with a group of icebergs from the shore of the incredible Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Southern Iceland.

Creativity Is A State Of Mind

It's an exciting time when I'm flooded with new ideas and projects for the year ahead. Through a disciplined and hard working approach to what needs to be done during December and January I've prepared myself for a free-thinking and creative year to come. Major projects and photography adventures always follow. Creativity is a state of mind that needs to be cherished and cultivated.

Actually I never find getting those larger projects done to be all that difficult. Starting can be tough, which is why it's important to be in the right state of mind to do so. Likewise finishing a project (e.g., eBook) can be hard because, after pouring everything you can into it, it can be hard to let it go and send it out into the world. But all the work in-between starting and finishing a project is, for me, meat and potatoes. And I don't mean to denigrate the process by referring to it as such. It's an incredibly creative and inspirational time which is why, despite all the long hours invested, it's something I very much look forward to. It's not easy but, when you’re actively engaged in your life's true purpose, it's a very meaningful and spiritually rewarding process. And it's how we're supposed to be living.

The temperature started to drop while I began writing this post. It's now much cooler and the battery feels well and truly recharged. The next two days will be quite mild and I'm looking forward to being in a state of high productivity. A lot of folks whine about the changeable nature of Melbourne's weather, but when it gets as hot as it did, I very much look forward to a cool change. With any luck rain will come and the landscape will be renewed.

A spectacular panoramic view of the Vik Luthern Church on a hillside above the town. At around 300 inhabitants Vik is the southern most town in Iceland.

The same is true for our frazzled minds and bodies during these periods of extreme temperatures. And that's another example of dying a little so as to be reborn. It's very much at the heart of the creative process.

It would be a great exercise to think on your own life as a way of focusing upon and actively pursuing what it is you're actually supposed to be doing?

  • What’s your true calling, your purpose in life?
  • What can you do to better manage your life so that you can find the balance you need to go about living the life you're supposed to be living.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru