Being creative is a messy business. It requires work clothes, steel-toed boots, a sturdy hard hat, a trusty jackhammer, a backhoe, a crane for the heavy lifting, a construction fence to hinder the gawker’s view, and an enormous five-gallon bucket of elbow grease. I need room to sprawl, kick up dust, throw mud at the wall, and dig deep holes into the heart of my design. If I am lucky, I avoid roadblocks, anticipate setbacks, manage material delivery, labor negotiations, and hit pay dirt when I pass the required inspections. The intention is to deliver a completed project on time and under budget.
It all sounds so easy until something or someone steps in to gum up the carefully drawn plans. Writers, artists, and other creative people need access to a dedicated place and time to roll up their shirtsleeves and create, free from distractions. Freedom within specific constraints is an odd pairing, but they are crucial elements in the creative process. You can’t effectively work on an unlimited number of projects and hope to complete any of them. When you limit your concentration to one primary goal, organized chaos is often the next step.
Critics help an artist focus, improve their final product, and compel them to attain higher levels of meaning, competence, and beauty. But a critical eye imposed too soon in the development stage can demoralize, block, or even end a project before it has begun. It is a game of setting limits, defining boundaries, imposing structure, and then attempting to push past the artificial restrictions.
Don’t knock at my door when I am working. I don’t want, need or value your feedback before the shape takes form. The vision is mine. The struggle is personal, and it is a road I must walk alone.
What limits do you set on your creative process?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer