Anyone setting foot on the path of creating—making, inventing, imagining, developing—is saying ‘yes’ to the so-called creative process*. Inevitably, there will be mess, confusion, both silence and noise, and probably fear too.
You are a brave and adventurous soul, agreeing to this slightly frightening mystery, so how best to hang in when the above recipe seems too sticky to stir and you just need to get something done because you’re up against budget and deadline?
I don’t think it’s complicated.
I do think it’s about courage, and faith, and accepting the mystery for a while, and just getting better at recognising what’s going on when you hit those sticky points.
In having the initial idea, there is something happening inside telling you that this thing could work. The sub-concious knows it, and is trying to get a message through to your cognitive, rational mind.
Have courage that there is sense in your hunch, and put that first step on the road.
You have tools at your disposal to throw at this conundrum. You have gathered those through hours—years—of practice, so have a little faith that the practical tools in your kit are there because they work. Pick them up. Have a play. (What are those tools for you, by the way?)
Have faith that your tools serve a really useful purpose, and just pick them up!
Making ourselves accountable to journeys in which we have no idea what the outcome will be, it is all of the above (fear, mess etc) but it is also—in and of itself—a fantastic fact of life, and the better we can become at life, well, who’s not up for that?
I’ve been really inspired by a recent interview with artist Ella Luna on The Great Discontent. “What could you do with 100 days of making?” she asks. It’s a project she’s running for MoMA, inviting anyone to pick up a habit over 100 days, tweeting or posting on Instagram with the hashtag #100Days.
I have lots of ideas and couldn’t wait for the start date so just got on with my own version, without knowing what I expected out of it except a hunch that something new wanted to emerge. Absolutely miles out of my comfort zone here! My plan simply revolves around writing something positive everyday, and picturing that somehow. I post on twitter, Instagram and my Tumblr page, and to friends on Facebook, labelling the day number and some brief thoughts.
Now, ten days in, I realise what I’ve committed to – it’s a big, fat, juicy mystery. That’s it! But because I have faith and courage on my side, I reckon it’s worth putting one foot in front of the other on this mysterious path, knowing that all those steps along the way are going to take me somewhere.
Sharing each step so publicly can throw up raw and vulnerable feelings, no doubt. But it’s a kind of accountability, to myself, to my friends, communities. It is frightening; revealing.
But the mystery of a project unfolding is also exciting, surprising, and delightful, and that’s what to keep pursuing in tiny, incremental little steps.
So how about you? What’s your project, or dream, or adventure, or risky business plan? Perhaps you can take some encouragement from these words along your journey, and share with us how you get on.
If any of this struck a chord, here are some more thoughts on the topic:
Another post on the creative process theme, looking at what resources we have in times of the mess.
And for when you’re just knackered and need a break, have a read of this post!