Storey’s publisher reflects on the satisfaction of flow.

Deborah Balmuth

Deborah in the flow, sewing at home.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process and what it brings to our lives. One of the trends we’re seeing in the publishing world is the popularity of coloring books — for adults! Storey isn’t publishing coloring books (yet!), but it makes me curious about what’s behind this attraction.

I remember what I loved about coloring as a kid: the total immersion in the process, the feeling that the only decision to be made is what color to use next, and the sensory experience of the wax crayon adhering to the rough-hewn paper. I’m reminded of the state that psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls flow (which he explores so beautifully in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience), and the contentment and focused energy I now find in my favorite creative activities like knitting and sewing.

Coloring books are an inviting way into the experience of flow because they require minimal skill — or only the skills we learned as children. But by mastering new, more challenging skills, we acquire tools that enable us to dive deeper into the experience of flow — immersing ourselves in the joy of creating and discovering. Whether we’re tending a garden, building a cabin, bird watching, or cooking outdoors with freshly harvested vegetables, there’s the opportunity to become fully absorbed in the activity at hand — and tapped into the creative energy that fuels our lives.

I often think about the specific skills taught by Storey authors and how they help us accomplish practical results. But it’s also intriguing to reflect on the role these skills play in enriching our experience of the creative process itself and the deep satisfaction of being in the flow.

Deborah L. Balmuth

As Storey’s publisher and editorial director, Deborah heads up efforts to acquire and publish outstanding, long-lasting nonfiction books that support the company’s mission of promoting… See Bio

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