Monday, June 28, 2010

Creative Intentions Issue No. 3

Welcome to week three of Creative Intentions. With this newsletter, I hope to inspire all creative types to learn about their personal creativity and how to grow from their creative work. Each week, for twelve weeks, you can look forward to a feature article with information, tips and ideas surrounding the realm of creativity.

Feature Article Topic:

Creative Flow

One evening, I was sitting at my living room table. I had some music playing in the background, while I began to make four journals by hand. I had to tear down paper, fold pages, stitch the signatures together, and finally put the covers on. Before I started this project, I was feeling anxious and nervous about my skills. However, once I started, something amazing happened. I had no sense of time, I felt confident with what I was doing, and I was completely enjoying myself. This experience would best be described as being in flow. Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written a book called Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. In chapter five on “The Flow of Creativity”, he describes what flow is and nine main elements he finds people have in common when asking them to describe when an experience feels enjoyable. Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as an optimal experience when things are going well as an almost automatic, effortless, yet highly focused state of consciousness (p. 110).

The nine main elements describing how it feels when an experience is enjoyable are as follows:

  1. There are clear goals every step of the way.
  2. There is immediate feedback to one’s actions.
  3. There is a balance between challenges and skills.
  4. Action and awareness are merged.
  5. Distractions are excluded from consciousness.
  6. There is no worry of failure.
  7. Self-consciousness disappears.
  8. The sense of time becomes distorted.
  9. The activity becomes autotelic.

Csikszentmihalyi goes further with each one of these elements in his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. I do think it is worth mentioning here a quote from his book. “In many ways, the secret to a happy life is to learn to get flow from as many of the things we have to do as possible” (p. 113).


This week, think of something that you really enjoy doing and DO IT. Did you lose track of time? Did you feel confident? Did you find yourself extremely focused and less distracted? Did the activity bring you joy for no other reason than being in the experience of it? If you answered YES, then you were in FLOW!


Next week Issue No. 4 will feature an article on

Creativity and Renewal.

To find out more about Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, visit

Go With the Flow!

© BrianaCreates 2010 All Rights Reserved

Briana: Artist, Writer, Teacher, and Creativity Coach

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