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Life is best when its rhythm is flowing, therefore less strain on the system leading to less machine breakdowns. Like an athlete, when a runner’s rhythm is right the action becomes easy and better progress is achieved.

Having a work rhythm, a life rhythm, is very important. As an impressionable art student I was told that you don’t idle around and wait for inspiration, but you put yourself into a place to receive it. Setting aside a time to work and keeping to it will enable you to make the most progress with creative endeavours. It is the professional approach and one with successful writers, artists, will employ.

Give yourself time to think, to ponder, to play and let the work evolve through an open process that understands the ‘about-ness’ that drives the work. Some days it won’t seem much progress is being made, but often the building bricks for creative work are unobtrusive, hidden, disguised even, until the true nature of the work reveals itself and you can think, “Oh yeah, that’s the seed or the important cog". The trick is to relax and allow the work to flow naturally without the pressure to rush to a finished piece. Give yourself time to edit, to review to mould the work. Someone once asked J W Turner when he knew he had finished a painting. He said it was when he stopped working on it. He never knew when that point would be reached, but understood when it was.

When creating work, whether it be poetry, visual art, music etc., remember you are not only the maker, but also the work’s first audience. When writing poetry you are therefore the writer and the first reader. It is a skill to know when to wear either cap at the appropriate time, so self critical assessment takes place to enable the work to develop. This is important, especially when making work which involves something you might feel. Other people won’t be able to feel the same, so critical thinking has to take place when you are the reader, in order to assess how your work might spark the audience’s imagination. Our creative work isn’t necessarily about telling people things, but provides a doorway to the imagination. Engagement

with, and understanding of the work is not only guided by what is presented, but is also viewed through the lens of the audience's life experience. Our creative work is therefore about translation rather than reporting.

Turner would take an old oily rag and change a painting that was already being exhibited. This shows he was always thinking about the work and always wearing both caps. It is finished only when the work has stopped unravelling, and that point could be discovered anywhere on the map.

Best wishes

John

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