Saturday, 18 August 2012

Making Fertilizer

Sometimes we come smack up against a creative block; a wall that won't let us past and we hit it hard. And if not an actual block then we can experience a spell where whatever we create just doesn't seem to hit the mark. If you are experiencing such a time (or when it comes, as it will) know that it indeed can be a hard process to come to terms with. The fact is, just as there are the highs of creativity, there will always be lows as well.

I've come to look at creativity the same as the cycle of the seasons. We know we can do nothing about the joys of summer turning into the quieting and drab of autumn and then autumn turning into the bleak stillness of winter while we wait impatiently for spring and all its activity of growth. This is how things work and it will just make us frustrated and crazy to think that we can perform at top level all the time. It's not possible for anything -- even machines get worn out.

But each of these seasons has a purpose and a reason. Learning to be patient with our 'winters' of creativity is hard but that time can be used the same as nature does: to rest and revitalize. The lows can be used to collect new information, look to skill improvement, and rest the mind (which is an important element). Sometimes a break from your work is necessary to allow for the possibility of a new perspective, to discover a new technique, explore other directions or just play which in itself furthers creativity!

Your winter of creativity is also a time to put down fertilizer (that's what I call the shit we create in low times). Fertilizer is important to the growth of plants, so why not writers, painters, musicians, etc? Even though what we create during the low times isn't what we aspire to, it is an important part of feeding the process and the eventual outcome. Sometimes we need to make these 'mistakes' so we can gauge where we are at. Or as the painter Bob Ross liked to say, 'there are no mistakes only happy accidents.' We can build on those little accidental slips.

Often, the things we create during this time can be the seeds of something great later on. They just may need time to germinate. And when you come back from your winter's creative hibernation, you'll have gained something new that can be added to that fertilizer. This can be a very rich source to mine--dig out the gems in your pile of rubble ideas and ventures. Sometimes it just takes a fresh eye or ear to make the alterations that change something to a new level. Everything we do contributes to the next project.

So be ok with making fertilizer--you have no idea what it might grow out of it!

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