The creative unknown is a term that has come up a few times in my articles, and it’s something I want to expand upon a little bit more.
As artists, we are known for creating. But where does that creativity come from?
Have you ever created something and found yourself staring at it or listening to it over and over again? You’re dumbfounded by what you’ve created? You’re aware you made it, but you’re also inspired by it. You might experience a little bit of imposter syndrome?
Maybe before a project, you already had a rough idea where you want to go and what you wanted to accomplish and you sort of, but not really, knew what to do in order to get there.
Then that process began. The process of the creative unknown. Creativity just came out of you. You took those pictures, you moved that brush or pencil. Your fingers moved over the piano or keyboard keys – and things happened.
It’s only after you came out of the creative flow and looked back, you were amazed by your own work. It might have felt like it wasn’t you who created it. It was you, but it also wasn’t you.
"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists." - Charles Dickens
In order to get into the process of creative flow, you need to leave room for discovery. To simply allow the creativity to flow out of you, and not judge it. Get out of your own way. Don’t judge or criticize as you’re creating. Just create.
Find comfort in the unknown.
You can only plan so much. The rest should be up to discovery and innovation. Whether it’s gibberish and something you’ll delete later, it doesn’t matter. You’re discovering. Just discover. Don’t label it. Don’t judge it. Allow it to be. Go down the rabbit hole and see what you find on the other side.
Perfection shouldn’t be on your mind when you go through this process. What should be on your mind is discovery, and you can only accomplish that by moving forward. That means going through some mud and fog.
Most of the time you have no idea where you’re going and what you’re going through is muddy. It’s nothing you’ll consider good or worthy of sharing, and that’s exactly the point. It’s during this process where you make your discoveries. Where you simply stumble upon things you never previously thought of, and it was there all this time. All you had to do was to allow yourself the opportunity to find it.
Now you can take whatever you found back to where you came from, clean it up and refine it, then share it with the world.
It’s this process you should fall in love with. Have a passion for the process, not the end result. In the end, the hard work and creative suffering should have been worth it, then you have passion for what you do.
Process of the work
The reason you’re able to create great work today, is because you created good work yesterday.
Your greatest piece of work never arrives. It’s always still to come.
Always travelling, never arriving.
You might create something incredible today and have no idea how you did it. It might be because of the work you’ve done previously. It’s all of those experiences and skills that have allowed you to create what you just did.
Everyone is on their own creative journey so don’t compare your journey to theirs.