The Creative Process

by trishf

Part of this hiatus I’m taking is to spend quality time developing my interests.

Though I’ve been crafty from a young age, and have been described as “creative” by my peers, I’ve never been involved in the trenches of the creative development process. That, is for the “creatives types” – a.k.a. the husband, ex-colleagues and the likes.

(No) thanks to advertising, my brain is eternally programmed to think ten steps ahead on any project I take on, and exactly what the end result should be, even as the brief is being written. Those of you who know me, know that I can be very obsessive, compulsive and meticulous. Coupled with impatience (only slight, pinky promise!) and a desire for perfectionism. You get the picture. I want everything to be perfect. I want everything to be great awesome. Yet because I’m still green, I can’t be awesome and perfect the first time I do something.

Which brings me to the creative rubble I’ve been trapped under the last three days.

Jewelry design.

I’ve always had a keen interest in jewelry making. I often look at pieces and try to replicate them in my mind. One of my favourite things to do on vacation is exploring vintage stalls and craft markets. I also have a habit of saving odd bits of fabric, brooches or badges just in case. I’ve never given much thought about how I was going to do it. I just assume it should come naturally.

Hell, no.

Hunched over my work station (actually, dining table) from morning to-night, the past few days have been gruelling. The sight of a ton of random unfinished pieces laid out in front of me. My mind draws a blank. Looking around me, cricket silence. Feelings of unaccomplishment and dissatisfaction creep in. I feel like a… failure.

Dramatic, I know.

In chatting with the husband and other aforementioned “creative types”, I mulled over what the this latest endeavour has taught me:

1. The creative process is an ongoing process

>> It is constantly evolving. Always subjective. Never objective.  The most important thing is understanding that experimentation and failure are all part of the process.

2. Nothing is perfect.

>> Truism #1. Sometimes it is about embracing the imperfections that makes it perfect.

3. Practice makes perfect

>> Truism #2. Repetition is boring, but practice makes all the difference and at this stage of the game, it is all I need to get better.

4. Letting go

>> It is ok to drop something and pick it back up again. It is also ok to have unfinished ideas that aren’t thought out immediately. Learning to let go, ceding control and simply enjoying the exploratory journey has been strangely gratifying for me.

5. Patience can be rewarding

>> It is not a strong suit of mine. But sometimes, a quick mental break or an overnight test allows the idea to stew and makes it stronger.