WHAT I KNOW
No one just knows how to be an artist.
So how do you formulate a plan for a creative endeavor of which you are not yet a master? How do you know your theme before you write your story? How do you know your destiny before you explore the world?— Not possible, can’t do it. But if you can be aware of this paradox, you can push off feelings of paralysis and get strategic.
We work by copying, transforming, and combining what we see from other artists and what we feel inside. We study and employ the craft of our medium. We labor. We identify and then express a vision. We labor further. But this labor is non-linear, it’s chaotic, it’s abstract, it can be lonely, it can be desperate, it can be painful. Though if we are lucky, we will complete a piece of work.
But why don’t we spend more time reconciling and analyzing how we work on our art? In between our work. This other thing. Separate from the work. Our creative process.
We need to think more about why some projects take longer and others come quickly. We need to think deeper about how the work we abandon is different from the work we complete. We have the chance to develop and refine our creative process each time we attempt a work, large or small. Thinking about creative process is always generative. Even a work that feels like a failure can improve our process.
A good creative process should move us forward, allow us to pick up where we left off, and to finish. If we can be aware of our creative process, then we can sense what steps are not working for us and let those go. We can try new steps and notice how they fortify us. We can make our future labor more efficient, repeatable, authentic, and our inspiration more available.
We take our creative process into our next project, whether we like it or not. In fact, we take our creative process into every endeavor in life that’s non-linear, chaotic, abstract, lonely, desperate or painful.
You have a process for that. You should be in touch with it.
When I collaborate, coach, and teach artists, this is how I ask if their creative process is going well:
Are you working? Are you finishing? Are you happy?
Strategic will lay out a series of creative process case studies to spark a conversation. I want to discuss with you how we can create more often, how we can finish sooner, and how we can be happier as creatives. And I’m happy to ha
ve your voice.