"Because it was about a state of mind, I knew that it was something that was going to have me throwing myself against the limits of representation. Translating emotionality and personal experiences into a picture is always going to be hard. "—Katrin Koenning, in our interview about her photography.
The beginning of a new year gives the perfect opportunity to look back and reflect on the way your life and work are unfolding in order to see more clearly the path forward. With that in mind, we’ve prepared for you a creative retrospective, in the form of a questionnaire intended to help you consider the state of your creativity, your creations, and your creative life.
You can complete the Creative Retrospective as a Google Form online, which will allow you to type in the answers and have them emailed to you, or you can simply review the questions below and complete them on paper or in your own way. We invite any feedback you have on the retrospective, whether on the questions themselves, or on anything that particularly inspires or moves you.
- How would you describe your overall creativity this year? Think in terms of quantity (was it “low” or “high”?) but also quality. What kind of creativity did you encounter?
- What enabled your creativity? What frustrated it? Think of as many diverse influences as you can, including people, environmental conditions, emotional states, time, external events, etc. Are there ways to increase your exposure to the creativity-enabling aspects? Is it possible to limit, or transform, the creativity-frustrating aspects?
- How would you describe the relationship between your creativity and your emotional state?
- Think of a moment when you were at your most creative. What were you doing and how were you feeling? What were the results of that?
- Which of your own behaviors impacted your creativity? Make a list, and label each one appropriately: stop, start, and continue.
- What did you create this year? Make a list of your creative achievements, whatever that means for you. Take the time to really remember all of your successes, and call to mind even minor wins. Give a moment of gratitude for each one. Which achievement generates in you the largest feeling of gratefulness? Why?
- Then, give each achievement a ranking from 1 – 5 on the value that it had for your overall creative goals, with 1 being a minimal impact and 5 being a great leap forward. Then, give each achievement a ranking from 1 – 5 on the time and energy that the project consumed, with 1 being a small cost of time and energy (or even a positive influx of energy) and 5 being an “expensive” use of your time and energy. Which achievements gave you the strongest Return on Investment? (i.e. had the highest return in value for the smallest investment of resources)
- Which of your creations gave you the greatest difficulty? What did that experience give to you?
- How did your creations affect the people who encountered them?
- Which do you think you put the greatest focus on over the last year: to create a quantity of work or a quality? Did the outcome of this meet your expectations?
- How would you describe your overall sense of harmony with your creative landscape? Think of how many times you became overwhelmed or felt blocked. Were you aware of it at the time? Were you able to course-correct when needed? Why or why not?
- How would you describe the flow of ideas incoming and outgoing? For example, is it steady or stilted, is it a flood or a desert?
- What are you not doing that your intuition has been trying to tell you? What’s preventing you from taking action?
- How did your ongoing act of creating impact the people (and animals and environment) in your immediate surroundings? Consider the resources and materials that you used, the way you used your time, the interactions you had with others while creating, and the emotions and thoughts you generated during this time.
- What did your creativity cost you?