Many years ago, a friend talked me into attending a creative writing workshop. Since I’d never done anything like that before, I had no prior expectations.
I was totally unprepared for what happened.
We were given some topic to write about, I put my pen to the page and I found myself writing a fantasy-fairy tale about a comic strip character who was clearly on…acid or some sort of wild hallucinogenic drug. The writing that came off the end of my pen was strange; I didn’t know where it was coming from. And when we were asked to share our writing with the group, I was too embarrassed to read mine.
So many of my clients think that they need to know in advance what their creative work will look like. But when we open up the creative, we don’t know what we’re going to get. By definition, creativity is about bringing something forth that you haven’t seen before. It’s NEW. You’re not going to KNOW what it is beforehand.
People get confused about this. They think they need to figure it out ahead of time, have a 5-year plan for how they’re going to complete it (and earn an income from it) and have all their ducks in a row before they begin to write, paint, dance, make music. I get emails that sound something like this, “Every day I think about a written book, so I know it is coming. However, I need clarity in order to bring it into manifestation. I have no idea what the finished piece will look like.” The creative process doesn’t work that way. You’re not going to figure it out ahead of time.
I love film director David Lynch’s comment to Terry Gross when she interviewed him on NPR’s Fresh Air a few years ago. She asked him something about his work and he said, “You know Terry, when I’m making a movie, I don’t know what I’m doing.” The sculptor stands in front of his marble slab and the image of what wants to be created is likely already there, but hidden in a dimension that can’t be seen. The sculptor just needs to show up, and intuitively “feel in” to where he’s being led to start carving.
One of the biggest misnomers about creativity is that we need to have clarity about something before we begin. Of course you don’t know what the finished piece will look like. Creativity is about NOT knowing. You aren’t going to know. All you can do is value the creative process enough to allow yourself to be “pulled” by something. Trust that if you devote your love to it, you will be led to a door that you didn’t know existed. Once you open that door, something amazing will come.
It always does.