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The Yin and Yang of Creativity, pt.2

In part one of this post I was talking about one half of the Yin and Yang of the creative process  ideas – and the importance of giving them space to incubate and develop. We also established that imitation is not inspiration, but often these two words are used interchangeably. Today in part two I want to talk about taking action.

crow's eye 7034

Tokyo, JAPAN. 2013 – Crow’s Eye. A shot from my most recent project.


I’m not an enemy of taking action. “Creativity” after all means that you have to create something, and all the thinking you do won’t get you there. Ever. Let’s be clear about that. This is why taking action is the natural counterpart of the idea, and makes the creative process whole. Yin and Yang. Balance. You see?

Yet, I have the feeling that these days generally more importance is put on taking action than on the actual idea. The next time you feel like throwing everything you create in the trash bin, and being told “just do it” makes you want to push whoever says it into a black hole to never appear again, maybe it’s time for a break.

Do something else, put the pen away. Or the camera. Or the brush.

Inspiration is like a lover – let it fly and come back to you freely. Allow it to make you feel how much you’ve missed it. Two steps forward, one step back.

These days, in which everything happens without delay and in which we are used to instant gratification, everything’s a rush – I believe we forgot that “good things take while.” Slow down. It’s easy to fall into a trap in which you feel like you have to keep up with everybody and everything around you. I fell into that trap multiple times. And it’s deadly for your creativity.

Whenever I feel burnt out, I leave my workhorse camera at home and just enjoy what’s around me, enriching the ideas pool. I will read, paint, write… sometimes just take my film camera, because it allows me to shoot without pressure and expectations.

Ignore the pressure to create, and creativity will come back twice as strong. The time will come when you feel the urge again to go out and create something. A burning desire to push everything else aside and make your ideas a reality. And it will be good. I love the feeling and all of my photographs that matter to me are born out of this impulse.


“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Note that what I am talking about here is your personal work. The work in which you put your voice out there, on a next level, clearer than ever. If you’re in for the long run, don’t let others tell you that you need to deliver nonstop.

If your paycheck depends on it, the story is a bit different. Sorry pal, but just do it, eat it up. You’re a professional, you’ll produce good work – if you can’t, then something is wrong. Here, I find that most times when faced with a concrete challenge, your mind will get creative enough to at least get the job done.

As they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

So this rounds it up. Ideas feed action, actions feed ideas. It’s a healthy balance and sometimes you just need to stop, put your tools down and enjoy life a bit.

You’d be surprised at how strong you’ll come back.


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