Some creatives start many projects and struggle to finish any of them. Others start one project and work it through to completion. I hold the second group in high esteem, even though I cannot relate at all.
I have come to realize this is my creative process:
- Get excited about a new creative material, idea, or possibility.
- Envision the finished project.
- Dream about different ways to accomplish it.
- Begin project with great enthusiasm.
- Realize just how long the project may actually take.
- Get overwhelmed by that mental projection.
- Walk away for a while.
- A while becomes days.
- Start another project.
- Repeat steps 1-9 until available workspace is gone.
- Go back to first project and either finish it or trash it.
I’m making peace with this process as I realize it’s not likely to change.
This week, I decided to dance on to Step 11 and finish a project I started a month ago. If you receive my newsletter, you received this craft idea for blinging out a pumpkin. Yes, a month ago. Before this week, I’ve been stuck on step 8…
Even though I’ve accepted my creative process, I still wonder why finishing is so difficult.
I think it’s because there is no more potential for the raw materials. The fate of the raw materials is already decided. With a new piece of fabric, or a new blank canvas, or a new ball of yarn, there is great fun in dreaming and imagining what it could become.
And that fabric, canvas, or yarn could become a lot of things. There is great potential. Once it’s made into into something, it can only be that one thing. All the potential is gone.
Letting go of the potential and all the ideas for what something can be is the only way to get the dance to the end.
Here’s a time lapse of the Steps in action with music by David Mahler, “Afterthoughts”:
Where does your creative dance stall? How does it vary from my 11 steps? Leave a comment and let me know!