creativity was here
Coming to terms with the crisis of confidence creating art. But that’s not the whole story, it’s more complicated than that…it’s hard to boil my thoughts down to one descriptive sentence (actually that’s one of my major challenges, one from a long list). This blog is meant to keep me tethered, head down, focused on the day to day work of creating instead of spinning off into a universe of anxieties about not having created SOMETHING. ANYTHING. There’s an irony there…I’ll get to that shortly.
Focus on the process of making art. Not the outcome.
Our culture grooms us otherwise (other ways?). We are measured. We meet milestones. We’re scored on performance, grades passed, degrees earned. Heck, even our incomes send us a palpable measure message. And we erroneously equate measure with value. Fuck.
Making art for me includes: flash fiction, short stories, long form writing, poetry, creative non-fiction, essay. Also drawing and painting, working with fabric and wool and paper and glue and pencils and watercolours and oil pastels and, and, and…supplies are a bit of an addiction. Books too.
How we measure performance is a problem. It’s easier for me to draw this than to explain with words:
When we see the book or the work of art or the play on stage or listen to the piece of music, we don’t see the practice and effort and time it took to create those things. It’s invisible. You’ll notice the thought bubbles – this is the pictorial representation of my (and yours too, likely) inner critic, the monstrous inner voice that feeds on all the raw and bleeding feelings of inadequacy I toss it.
Here’s what PROCESS really looks like:
Actually, it looks more like this:
The big hairy reality: ART TAKES A LONG TIME!!!!
Our traditional measure of success sits at the finished product end, when really, we have the power to move that measure of success to anywhere along that purple arrow. For example, success could be a count of how many times I picked up a pen to write story words on paper. Or, letting go to stare out the window and daydream. Or, acknowledging my hand knows what will be drawn before my brain kicks in. Or, the number of times I don’t cross stuff out. Or, the number of times I start over…at the beginning….in the middle….at the beginning again…at the end….at a different end.
We don’t talk about it, this space of process. There are too few conversations about what happens in that space of time, that long purple arrow of indeterminant length (straight or messy). So, I’m going to attempt (because trying is the only way to move through process…well, that, and a willingness to fail) to use this blog to reflect on what it’s like to occupy that space of process. And my attempts to try to come to peace with it.
Posts are dedicated to unpacking process, taking a good look at it, elucidating here as best as possible…sitting with the discomfort, but also experiencing the fantastic (yet fleeting) flow-state of making.
And of course (maybe? hopefully?) there will be moments of triumph – what we all recognise as triumphs or a goal met or a piece completed, but I make this promise to you, dear reader – with every publication or artwork “finished”, I’ll post the length of time it actually took, from idea generation to finished product.
The process of creating art should be FUN. I’m grateful you’re here to share this acceptance journey—coming to peace with process—with me.