I’ve been working on a new project since about Easter. I’m not quite ready to tell more about it but I have a few thoughts about the creative process that might help you with yours.
When I started I wasn’t sure if this was going to be anything at all. I didn’t know what I was doing, and why, but I felt a nudge and I wanted to play around with this vague idea.
I don’t usually work this way. Usually I have the big idea, and then I start breaking it down and work with the big vision in mind. If I don’t have that big picture in my head, I feel lost and I never get anything done beyond musing that doing something would be cool. Noodling about for no reason holds very little appeal to me. I need the bigger vision in order to get something done.
But I’ve tried to learn a new approach. Sometimes you can discover something very cool, by just following a spark and seeing what happens. I wrote earlier about just creating something, and only discovering at the end of the process what the big whole was going to be. This way of working is fun and enlightening. Just doing what feels good has taught me that the finished project is greater than the individual parts of it. Trusting the process and the enjoyment of working on it is going to reveal something good in the end.
What a revelation! I used to associate greatness with pain. If I didn’t work on something tirelessly, super-self-critically with bucketloads of blood, sweat, and tears, then the outcome was, by definition, going to be mediocre. Only diligence and hard work were the guarantors of great work.
Now I think the opposite. I don’t care to be that serious anymore. I don’t care about greatness. Greatness is not fun, and I’m not convinced that striving for it is actually going to result in it. Fast and furious is more fun. Fresh and new is more fun. Trusting myself is more fun.
I think all that hard work and self-criticism stemmed from insecurity. I didn’t trust my own taste or my own opinions. I needed to examine each decision from several angles, compare my ideas with dozens of others. Cross-reference, re-consider and adjust until I was feeling certain that the idea was a keeper.
That’s exhausting. No wonder I lost my mojo!
So, I’ve been working on this new project and it’s been exhilarating, and a bit scary and a lot of fun. I’ve discarded all thoughts about what it should be and what others might think about it. Instead, I am selfishly and joyously doing what feels good. Having fun, collecting interesting ideas and working in a quick, light-hearted manner.
I’m not ready to reveal this project to you yet, but I couldn’t help giving you a little sneak peek! The picture above may or may not be related to the project... More to follow soon. ;)
Have you found yourself second-guessing yourself endlessly and as a result, not enjoying your creative projects? Leave a comment below!