Ruin, Oceans, and Why

So in the last post I talked about the low points and high points in the creative process. When you have a low in one aspect, look around, there's probably a high point in another aspect. That's looking out. But what about looking in?

When you feel you have a low amount of time or that you're inspiration is lacking, pivoting your focus on to something else is just the thing to move you through a slump. But the creative act, whatever it is, is not merely about moving through slumps, or operating a business. That's how we create, not why. It's the difference between surfing waves and understanding why you are out in the water in the first place. 

Exactly why any of us want to create is specific to us, there's as many answers as there are people. But to understand why and to leverage that answer in our creative processes, requires a look inside.

So, when you feel at a low point in your creative process, there is a pivot you can make to move the process along, but to understand why you even do what you do requires a different, counterintuitive move. Sink.

If you want to know why you're out in the ocean trying to surf waves, go get beaten up by the surf. Feel the terror of that immensity. It seems counterintuitive, when you surf you want to avoid being beaten by the ocean. But if you want to appreciate the power of the thing you're in, if you want to know why you're out there, you have to experience that terrifying power. That power is why you're out there in some capacity or another. 

In the creative process, if you want to know why you're doing the thing at all, you have to delve into the things that make that process terrifying.

If you feel that your inspiration is low, ask yourself what it would be like to experience the complete lack of inspiration. What is beautiful about that terrifying experience? And what power lies in your inspiration? You have to experience that lack of inspiration to appreciate the immensity of the whole thing and have a perspective of its power. 

See, it's in the times that seem so ugly on the surface that we find a depth of beauty in the creative process.

When something seems ruined or broken, it is often that very ruin that becomes the defining characteristic of the thing being created.

And our craft and process and life can be better for all the terror of that experience. Because you've creating something and you know why you're doing it.Creativity is trying to make something, then finding out that something is you.

Thomas Karst