Please Kill Me,
Whenever I’m asked about the writing process (which is fairly rare, as I can be a curmudgeon) I usually avoid the standard diatribe. I don’t believe in spelling out a process, that I myself haven’t quite grasped.
As creatives, aspiring creatives, or mentally enhanced squid-people of the future, we can easily convince ourselves that we’ve got a handle on things. Sure enough, when we’re in the “heat of the moment” (#Gigitty) it can certainly feel that way. Quite often, we fall into such deep and enthralling throes of creative passion that we forget how it all began.
We forget the blank page. The blank canvas. The first note. Etc. We forget about the days, weeks, months, and (sometimes) years that we spent plotting, planning, and being a pain in everyone’s ass. And why shouldn’t we forget? The beginning is best left in the past.
We’re more concerned with finishing the damn thing. Polishing it. Showing it off. Taking it out to a nice dinner. Meeting its parents. Making sweet and tender love to… I may have wandered a bit too far.
My point is that we can become so obsessed with a given project that we forget it starts the same every time. It’s that moment when we realize that we don’t know what the f#ck we’re doing. No matter what phase or level of creativity we’re at, we all spend the first few moments without a damn clue. That’s the truth that some forget and others hardly admit to.
So, when someone asks me “how to…blah. blah. blah.” I tell them that it’s already begun. The mental search for a message and the means by which to express it IS the beginning. For everyone. Every time. They’ve just got to get it done.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you’re any more Shakespeare than Larry the Cable Guy. What it is, is a seed for you to grow. From that point of target-discovery, it’s up to you to figure out the most effective way to hit that target, while also keeping the determination to complete the damn thing.
When I finish something, I usually take some days off (hedonistically and with complete abandon). Eventually, this leads to a slight depression, that I then cure with the next creative venture.
In that time, I’m not just living like Jack Sparrow in a Portland parking lot. I’m aiming. Looking for the next idea. Deciding the most effective method. It’s just a part of my creative process (…at least, that’s what I keep telling my liver). Prior to that moment, I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing. That’s the beginning. Anyone can get there. Which means that anyone can successfully create. No credentials required.
I suppose that you can boil that advice down to: “It’s okay not to know what you’re doing. Just don’t be afraid to do it.”
Every sculpture begins as a block. Every novel as a blank page. Every song as an empty melody. It’s up to us to figure out where it goes and how we get there.
Just be sure to see it through to the end.
Until Next Time,