Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Creative Processes—Follow the Spark

11 Comments

My most recent journal

I always love learning about others’ creative processes in all forms. I learn, I study, I weave some of those elements into my own. I find creative processes makes my heart smile and my spirit soar. I share some of my own creative processes here in hopes of contributing to all of us who love these.

My own processes take multiple forms with some common threads. They almost always begin with that energy spark of an idea that can happen anywhere and at anytime. Yes, it can be while I’m writing in my journal, often they happen when I’m running, and they are also equally as bound to happen while in the grocery store looking for my favorite tea.

What I have learned over the years is to trust that energetic hit that comes with the spark. That is the deciding factor whether I heed and pursue the idea or let it go. If I feel the resonance of the idea, I trust. If it feels flat, I let it go. These decisions are based on my intuition and my heart, not my mind or head. This is key for me.

When the spark hits, I scribble it down somewhere or text it to myself on my phone. This is also key. I have also learned that no matter how much I feel that idea is brilliant in the moment, life is FULL and it is likely to be lost in the tides if I don’t write it down.

From there, the idea goes into my journal. Once it is written in my journal, no matter how cryptic it may be, I breathe a sigh of relief. It is now safe. Of course, that is only the beginning.

After that comes many, many pages in my journal playing with these ideas in an intuitive way. Loads of circles, arrows, single words, quotes, and arrows drawn to connect ideas that may seem they flow together. It is all quite messy! And, I love it.

Right now I am working on several different pieces all focusing in some way on language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination. Those pieces are sketched out in my journal in varying stages, along with proposals for several presentations, along with books, essays, and chapters.

One I’ve clustered the ideas, I often add color to highlight emergent themes.

I sketch out main ideas to remember from the work of others to make meaning for myself.

Mother tongues as waterlilies by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Lilyology by Nerida Blair

I no longer take my journal to the grocery store with me. One too many times, I wrote my grocery list in my journal and took with me to the store. One time I left my journal, of course decorated with a gorgeous watercolor that I loved and choc-full of more ideas and sketched essay that I want to let myself think about, in the grocery cart. I did not realize until the next morning and when I returned to the store it was nowhere to be found. Never again. Grocery lists now go on pieces of paper ripped from a spiral journal.

I do travel with my journal. Leaving it behind feels like leaving my security blanket behind…or a limb. I have learned on planes never to tuck into the elastic pocket in front of my seat, no matter how tempting. It is on my lap or in my bag.

I often will then start playing with watercolors to add texture to the ideas in my own head. Plus, I love playing with these paints, colors, and textures. The visual adds to my own understandings, as well as for others (hopefully) to see visually. I take loads and loads of photos and play with those images, colors, textures, and what they convey, along with the words.

From there I move to the actual piece of what I’m writing, of what wants to be written. I follow that sparkling thread of energy to wherever it leads.

It is only now that I really begin thinking about shape, form, the craft of written pieces. Dorothea Brande refers to this process as “the advantage of the duplicity of writing,” in Becoming a Writer (1934). First the intuitive, energetic, wild, wonderful listening to ideas, open to all. Next, putting on one’s editor hat, using the skills muscles of the craft.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned along the journey is to trust that energetic, intuitive energy spark of an idea. I don’t have to understand it, just trust it, follow it, and give it oxygen and space to grow.

An elemental space that I create to listen to ideas are the early morning hours of coffee and candlelight, solitude and sanctuary, with my journal. This time is sacred. In these early morning hours, before the fullness of the day begins, I listen, write, muse, dream, play with ideas, and find connections.

Currently, I am at several different stages of the process on several different pieces. I keep track of all in my journal. I look forward to sharing more of the journey with you along the way.

Speaking of journeys, I completed one of my own with a virtual graduation. We gathered on Zoom as a family first and then I shared my screen, so we experienced as together as possible.

Gathered together
Flowers from Noé

What is now one of my all-time favorite photos of my parents—the moment when my name was read during the ceremony.

I mentioned that learning of others’ journeys with creativity makes my heart smile and my spirit shine! I think there are many of us. Would love to hear more about yours!

Love,

Dawn

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Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

11 thoughts on “Creative Processes—Follow the Spark

  1. Dear Dawn,

    I read your post and it encourages me to never give up–never, ever on trying to write for there is hope, fulfillment, and possibilities when ones expressions and thoughts are creatively memorialized and imprinted on paper.

    Peace and joy to you and your family,
    Tara

  2. Thank you for sharing this post about creativity in your life and work. Am really with you about the journal being traveling companion, and like you, I am often ‘visited’ by ideas on the plane/train/bus, especially if the journey is long. Have never tried playing with watercolors letting the ideas grow, and would like to try that. I think the time with paper pages and pen/pencil but not keyboard is very special, and brings a different kind of outcome, a different quality, too. Your achievements are only a proof of it!
    Thank you for your blog!
    Zhenya

  3. Dawn, you’ve inspired me! Thanks for sharing your process. May your inspiration muses keep you company, always!

    • Emanuel, oh, I am so grateful to know of the mutual inspiration! The beauty and power of your own writing and photography ALWAYS inspire me. Thank you ever so much. And, it is wonderful to have our inspiration muses keep us company, isn’t it? Makes for such an engaged and hopeful life. Thanks so much for expressing this in such a gorgeous way!

      • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dawn. I am so grateful for connecting with you and your views of the world, beauty, and life; and I am glad that I can reciprocate in kind.

  4. Dearest Dawn, Thank you for sharing your creative process; it’s great to have you writing DewDrops more often. Also, in this digital world, it’s refreshing to see pen and paper in use. This is a gem here, “If there is one thing that I’ve learned along the journey is to trust that energetic, intuitive energy spark of an idea. I don’t have to understand it, just trust it, follow it, and give it oxygen and space to grow.” Wise words! Be careful with those shopping lists!!!!

    Much love and hugs o’grande! Dan

    • Dearest Dan,
      Oh, thanks ever so much for connecting on all here—including writing Dewdrops more often. I am really hoping/planning on getting into the rhythm of frequent, consistent posts. Lighting lights of candles around that, so this really means a lot to me!!
      Much love and hugs o’grande (love that)!
      Dawn

  5. Wow you are very creative person! Well shared loved to read it! Keep going on.🙂👍

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