Exercising the Creative Muscle

We have so many tools available to us today in the photography world.  I'm really grateful for that because I imagine it's much like what having a jar full of brushes might be for a painter. People ask me all the time what digital painting is and I suppose if you asked ten different artists, you'd get nearly as many answers.  For me, it is a way to express myself visually, using the computer tools and camera skills I have acquired over time.  I select different digital tools to create an effect in the same way a painter selects a brush.  It starts with my camera and it gets all mixed up with my emotions, abilities, light sources and digital tools.  

I've been reading a lot about nutrition and wellness lately and one thing keeps coming up over and over again.  It doesn't take a lot to be well.  Not nearly as much as I thought it did, for a long time. Simple, clean foods, fresh air, sunshine, a quiet walk in the woods at a gentle pace, a massage, learning to actually feel my breath again and to hear my own inner wisdom, along with taking some time to slow down and recharge.  To simply sit and listen.  Just listen. 

By the same token I have given a lot of thought to how exercising the creative muscle doesn't need to take hours on end every day either.  It doesn't take agonizing, forcing ourselves to practice repeated and ridiculously bland ways of doing things because we think we're supposed to do it like that, because we've always done it like that.  That's the equivalent, in my own mind, of hours of endless running on a treadmill.  I am not a hamster!  

Pain stopped me from picking up the camera for months, and the fear that I might have to stop doing this entirely slowly took root in my spirit.  But somewhere along the line, I realized that I can certainly shoot one or two images worth keeping and I can spend just an hour at the computer and still create something lovely each day.  And I've also found that the same practices I am now using for body and mind, are also very good for my creative muscles. Breathing deep, relaxing muscles, appreciating life, slowing down.... how good it is, how important it is... to the health of my creativity.