Creating Competitively?

In my campaign for creativity, I’m lobbying myself to move the creative processing outside my head and into the world.  I wrote about shedding a fear of failure, and capturing creative energy as ideas rush in and out like the tides.  Sometimes we need a push to get an idea out into the world, especially when complicating factors like pride get in the way.

Get out of your head

Pen and paper are a gift because ideas can be more freely evaluated outside of my brain. By putting something onto the page I can see it more clearly and ask: Do I really think that?  Am I ready to put a period at the end of that sentence?

To speak something out loud feels like a commitment, so too often I keep it inside just to be sure.  Inside the introvert’s brain, ‘thoughts’ are like an old circus tent – wanting to fly away, but held back by ropes staked into the mind’s fear-grounds. 

Those fear-grounds are criss-crossed with fear-ropes:  being wrong or unprepared or misunderstood.  By putting an idea onto paper, it’s easier to see which ropes need cutting.


Flip the coin

Sometimes the rope is a gift of course – you might call it restraint – preventing an offensive comment or forcing me to listen further. But every strength’s coin has a flipside, heads or tails, with the weakness waiting underneath.   When an introvert’s coin is tossed, hesitancy often wins.

(Or maybe that coin is upside down. If someone’s first impulses were printed onto an ever-published ticker tape – we might call these tweets – then perhaps restraint would be the strength and the weakness speaking out?)

You probably know which side of your coin shows naturally, and if it’s hesitancy, then I encourage you to flip it.

Timely Writing

Wanting to “get it right” and be insightful presents a challenge when responding to issues of the day.

Numerous are the voices spouting timely information.  Later come the insights, for those who bother.

Admired is the creator who can offer something timely and insightful.

For instance, this week I’ve been unsettled by the open display of racism in Charlottesville, but it may be awhile until I have something in-depth to share on it. So far the timely writing I’ve seen has focused mainly on the protest event, but the insights are in the disturbing racism.

I’ll be writing quietly, to make sense of it all, but when to put it out there?  It takes time to form perspective, but I fear that waiting too long allows the tweeters to shape the world.

Change the world

Every creation is not going to change the world – contrary to my younger ideals, which only raised my standards to the point of non-publishing.

But creating and sharing something, while in and of itself is enough, also clears the way for the next creation.  Sometimes I think creativity resides in a pipe that gets blocked and must be unclogged in sequential order, first in, first out.  If you want to get to that brilliant thing you always imagined, you need to pump out the below-your-standards sludge.

Even if your masterpieces will change the world, perhaps that lofty staircase is built with uneventful creations that look to you like small blocks of plain concrete.

Creating Competitively?

I’ve half-written songs that stayed in my living room for years, only to later hear echoes of those same lyrics in another artists’ work.  I was frustrated when yet again I waited too long to share, and want to learn from this.

I carry the misconception that only one person gets to give the world an idea and my hesitancy meant it wasn’t me. Something seems wrong with this conclusion, but I wonder if “competitive creativity” could be useful to move things outside the studio sooner.  Is that crazy?

I have found writing to be the gift of a friend to try out ideas with.  I’m working through the above complications to champion creativity.  Do any of these affect you?




Featured artwork this week and last by Heather Ridenour.  The art is transporting, and I am appreciating her “in process” presentation :  see for yourself

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