Some people are said to be scared of their own shadows, but let’s face it, that’s an Old Wives’ Tale at best. Other people, however, really are scared of their own creativity. If you’re among them, hey, get over it, doods. Like this:
by Jennifer Johnson
Sure, sometimes the well runs dry and we struggle to generate creative ideas, but more often, we have so many creative ideas that we have difficulty committing to one and getting started. We can get really creative about how we avoid creating-surfing the internet for “research,” checking Facebook to see what our creative friends and colleagues are doing, baking cookies, watching TV, talking on the phone-the list is likely endless.
We trick ourselves into believing that in order to commit to something, we need to feel sure-sure that it will be a “success” (however we define that), sure that we have the skill to carry through on our vision, sure that we’ll complete it, sure that we’ll be pleased with the outcome, sure that others will like it, sure that it will sell, sure that when it’s done we’ll look back on it as worthwhile investment of our time. We want a clear “Yes” or a guarantee. Even though as creative people we have chosen a path that often offers little security, we continue to crave security and certainty, when often these are simply illusions to which we cling.
Creative expression typically offers no guarantees, and sometimes it doesn’t come with a clear yes. We may think we have a clear vision when we finally begin, but as we give it voice or form, we learn that it begins to take its own shape, and often it is somewhat different than how we first envisioned it. That’s one of the beautiful things about creative expression, if we can simply learn to enter this flow and allow our idea to show us the shape that it wants to take. We may judge it as “better” or “worse” than our original vision, depending on a variety of factors that day, including our sense of self-worth, our mood, and how well we have eaten, slept or managed stress that week. Days later, we may feel differently about our creation, depending on the above-mentioned variables or something else that arises.
What would it be like to commit to the exploration of our creative ideas? The truth is that most commitments are followed by imperfect actions, and our thoughts and feelings and therefore our subjective judgment of our work varies from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. What does it take to commit to our creative expression in light of the fact that life is always changing, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are always changing, and there are no guarantees about anything?