The creative input and output balance. Is your creative process optimized?
The creative process is like a machine or a body: it needs a certain amount of input to generate output.
Are you in balance?
We could use the human body as an analogy, but I think it’s too complicated. The balance of proteins and fats, blood and oxygen to produce energy and blood circulation, thinking, processing, movement, staying alive and performing optimally. Too complicated.
Let’s take a car.
A car needs gasoline to run. If you don’t put in gas, the car will eventually stop. It’s about the same with our creative selves.
It’s also about that simple: what you put in determines what you get out.
If you’re a writer, are you reading? If you’re a painter, are you going to museums or checking out other’s work? Of course, it doesn’t have to be about what others in your field are doing, it can go deeper. Are you taking in the world around you? Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Are you aware? Taking (mental) notes? Processing that input and transforming it into your creative output?
One might argue that artists can create from nothing. To whip up a story or a painting out of thin air. But of course, energy doesn’t disappear nor is it created. It just transforms. It was something and you change it into something else. That’s all that’s happening.
I write this today as for the past week or so I haven’t had my regular input of creative foundation. My podcasts, my courses, books, posts, articles and conversation. I notice that I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for new content. Sure, it’s a big barrel and there are lots of goodies stuck to the nooks and crannies, but I’m missing the constant in and out flow.
How much input do you need for the right amount of output? Is is 50/50? Does it matter? Do you notice when you have more (or less) input? Does it affect the quality (or quantity) of your work?