On Creative Process – Flow

I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process lately. Ever since I read a passage by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about the concept of flow.

‘(Flow) is the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.’

I instantly thought about how I feel when I’m working on creative writing or building a ceramic piece. Sometimes hours go by before I remember to eat or I look up at the clock and suddenly it’s two in the morning.

Csikszentmihalyi observes that people find pleasure in this heightened state because it is just the right level of stimulation for the brain. Too little challenge and we become bored. Too much challenge and we’ll give up in frustration. If artists can enter this zone, it is the creating that is pleasurable, not the end result. Self-consciousness and fear of failure disappear. In other words, go with the flow.

I’m trying to keep my research summaries short and simple and as far away from academic babble as possible but for interested people; here is a link to a good article which explains creative flow and happiness.

AND I have not done any drawings this fortnight because I’m rushing to get my ceramic pieces done for an exhibition in October. So here is the unfired (but finished) French girl. I was definitely in ‘flow’ all weekend finishing her off.


I took a photo of the back of her head because I had so much fun making her hairstyle.


Csikszentmihalyi, M., 1996. Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. HarperCollins, New York.


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