Chaos and confusion are the precursor to creation. I’ve pondered this idea for a long time, but recently I’ve had enough examples of it to make me a believer. And, as someone who is not very comfortable with chaos and confusion, I need to coax myself into learning how to sit within the creative madness in order to come out the other side with a masterpiece (or at least something neat and new!).
Example 1: Back to the roofer example. There was pretty much utter confusion and chaos as my new roof was getting put on. While I can’t say I was particularly happy with their cleanup job, in the end, I was the proud owner of not only a new roof, but a much higher quality and nicer looking roof than I had when I started. If someone would’ve told me in the midst of it all with nails, staples, bags, and shingles all over my lawn, flower beds, and bushes, I would’ve told them they were mad. However, just a few weeks removed from it all, it looks beautiful (even if there are still a few loose ends) AND it is nice to enjoy a rainy day here in the Northeast without having to worry about leaks.
Example 2: A few weeks ago we ripped out and replaced our front and rear walkways ourselves. At one point there were a lot of rocks, sand, tools, and stepping stones all over the place. It needed to be that way to allow ourselves the space in which to work and create our new vision for our walkway. We had to make a mess first before we could make it nice, neat, and new. Today you’d never know it looked horrible a few weeks ago and was all torn apart for an entire Sunday. It is simply nice, neat, fresh, and a pleasure to look at.
Example 3: This weekend I watched the special features that came with the Rent DVD. They profiled the life and death of creator Jonathan Larson and particularly his devotion to his craft. While I can now watch his musical in the theater and on the screen and marvel at just how perfectly characters, lines, and melody flow, it wasn’t always that way. Even after he had a producer for the show and early signs indicated much promise, he endured hours on end of artistic agony working and re-working the story, the characters, and the music. When we watch a film, attend the theater, listen to music, or read a book we tend to forget about the hours, months, days, or years that went into creating the piece of art we are enjoying. We forget that creating a final piece requires shitty first drafts, almost finished pieces that get tossed when we go back to the drawing board, and a whirlwind of blood, sweat, and tears. However, it is all there. It is all part of the process. Amidst all the ups and downs of the process, the creator needs to have an unshakeable belief in her vision. Otherwise, she’d just pack it in, get a beer, and go watch TV. That’s where belief and persistence comes in.
- Do you give yourself permission to be chaotic and confused or does everything have to be perfect?
- Are you willing for things to be a little messy for a while as you realize your vision?
- Can you trust in the creative process even on a bad day?