On Creativity – It’s Fragile

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Creativity, Encouraging Words, Featured, Popular | 15 comments

It can be unclear which way to go - but you still have to go!

It can be unclear which way to go – but you still have to go!

Not only is creativity fragile, but the creative process often goes on a path leading into the darkness of a unfamiliar forest. Once there, the direction is unclear. The path diverges and splits leading off into many directions and there are choices to be made. It’s important to follow your intuition and blaze on, knowing that you might end up going in circles before successfully finding your way through to the other side.

You must remember, you took the journey alone, carrying with you the tools and experiences that live inside of you. Nobody else will ever understand the choices you made along the way. They will not know the fears you experienced, or appreciate the insecurities you felt while making your choices. All they see is that you have arrived with a finished work. It is very important to remember that the approval of others is not something you need. It is not important that they understand your journey. It’s your creative effort and yours to evaluate – yours to like – yours to dislike. Your personal opinions are the only ones that really matter.

People who have been through similar situations – those who share similar creative endeavors – are people from whom you can seek advice, critique, and encouragement. These are people whose experience in a certain area has given them wisdom. It’s the same wisdom you develop as you travel on your own creative journey. It’s fine to ask “Should I have turned left instead of right?” “When I come to the big rock should I climb over it, or go around it?” Regardless of the answer, understand that that particular creative effort is a chapter on your journey that is over. Certainly you can take the words of wisdom (the critique) with you when you depart on your next journey, but don’t try to go back and redo the one you just completed.

Don’t let the words of a trusted counselor defeat you. Furthermore, if someone has never taken that same journey through that mystical creative forest (and believes they have a right to critique your work – and proceeds to do so) don’t allow their critical or unfriendly words destroy your spirit. I know, that easier said than done, but stand firm on the fact that you made the best choices you could with the experience and tools you had at the time.

Here’s a quote from a comic genius. “Nothing will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” – John Cleese

Onward, into the next adventure…. I’m just saying’…

15 Comments

  1. Very insightful…. This part really struck me

    It’s your creative effort and yours to evaluate – yours to like – yours to dislike. Your personal opinions are the only ones that really matter.

    Thanks for that reminder
    Tim

  2. Your words are so true. No one knows the path that has been traveled and the ups and downs one has faced. I can so relate to these words. It is but one life we are given and we make choices to do with it as we choose. Mistakes are made along the way. We learn from them and go on. Yes, it is very fragile. Until you have a chance to walk in another’s moccasins you will never know the journey. The deeper I go into the forest, the more I like it there. The quiet, tranquil, the less trodden path. It is here I can let me, be me. Here I can show my emotions and no one sees, here I can control who enters, who stays, and who leaves. It is here, I only do what is pleasing, enjoyable, and spiritual to me and no one else. When I am here, I am in harmony with myself, and life it so good.

  3. Very good and helpful words. I know that my creativity has experienced many a paralyzing moment in the fear of making a mistake, even though I know that no one ever need see the final product if I don’t want them to. I have also had the “critique” by a “educated professional” that I simply took with a grain of salt knowing that the individual was not with me during the point of inspiration, so I moved on.

  4. As always your words echo my soul. My new journey is to become an art jewler. I find that much of what I learned as a quilter is rolling over into this discipline. Love the new site. XO

  5. I wish that I had read this 35 years ago as an art student. I’m glad to read it now.

    I attended your seminar in Cedar Rapids last month. I expected to take away great quilting tips. I didn’t expect so much thoughtful reflection on creativity and quilting as art. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

    Thank you!

  6. Hi Ricky, I was looking forward to reading your new blog but I can barely read what you have written. Light grey font on a white background is very difficult to see even when I increase the zoom.

    • Thanks for the input. I’m sure there will be several “tweaks” as we get things rolling along. Your comment is helpful.

  7. Great writing and especially agree with the thought that your personal opinions are the only ones that matter.

  8. This really resonates with me, Ricky. I spent the majority of my 48 years imposing all kinds of rules and limitations on my creativity, to the point of almost paralyzing myself creatively. Fear of making mistakes, looking for external validation for my work and focusing on the end product held me back. Only in the last few years have I come to realise the beauty is in the process. The journey is so much more exciting than the final destination for me. What I learn about myself and the world in the process of creating is so much more important than worrying about whether the final product is ‘good enough’. Thank you for reminding me of that. Or, go raibh maith agat, as we say here in Ireland.

  9. Such a task we have created for ourselves when we let the opinions of others matter more than our own, when we let fear paralyze us from creating, when we let the words of another wound us so deeply – in all aspects of life. Our energy must remain focused in the direction of our creativity if our art is to take hold and blossom. WE have to get out of our heads (mind) and into our souls to create with passion and abandon and love. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  10. Social media is making everyone an art critic which is a new trend in our society which is not entirely positive, especially when the comments are not helpful or relevant. The power to review publicly can be hurtful and sometimes seems to be based on zealousy or some other negative emotion rather than a true independent review. Remember every sale is a positive review, but every nonsale is not necessarily negative. I try to let unhelpful criticisms roll off my back and hope that enough people fund me so I can continue to live this creative life…

  11. This is wonderful Ricky! I feel like I’m back in La Veta, sitting around your table again. I will enjoy watching for these. Thanks for sharing yourself once again.

  12. Love following you, hope to make it out to your place one day.

  13. Thank you so much Ricky. It means a lot to me when you say that:

    “It is very important to remember that the approval of others is not something you need. It is not important that they understand your journey. It’s your creative effort and yours to evaluate – yours to like – yours to dislike. Your personal opinions are the only ones that really matter.”

    Thanks for sharing.

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