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thoughts on creative process

Consider the creative process of you. Day by day, project by project, you are defending the skills you are building, the research you are gather, the budget you have already spent, and the hours you've poured in actually costs more and more as you hold tighter to the faith in an eventual payout. If you view your work honestly, all the skills you acquired and all the money and hard effort you spent yesterday should have nothing to do with decisions you make tomorrow, because to be effective as a creative you've got to always be learning and making new decisions.

Which makes perfect sense, until it gets personal. And the work we do, the art we make, it's personal.

An example: You design and produce a new product. The final tweaks are the hardest, you sweated all the details and to your core, you know for the product end users it is going to be fabulous. Then the project suddenly dies in its tracks from loss of funding or because a few test users say they hate it. Now, you're not just walking away from a big fat deposit--you're walking away from what you thought was your best work, from your dreams, from you.

Part of what it means to be a creative is to dive willingly into work that might not work. And the other part, the part that's just as important, is to openly admit when you've gone the wrong direction, and eagerly walk away, even (especially) when it's personal.

Yes, we have to have faith in our abilities. Faith lets us do our best work. But successful creatives are the ones who sally forth knowing that abandoning our darling pets, and even our ego and self worth - are the most enduring growth milestones.

Creating yourself is a journey, a long and arduous haul towards a few but treasure-filled destinations. The process is meant to be hard as Freud once said, "only our struggles disappointments can effectively move us in the right direction." We get there by committing to the process as much, if not more as we focus on the outcomes. I've hold faith that the struggles, not the victories, are the real creators of us.

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