Something Old. Something New. What is Your Process?
Mostly borrowed. Likely blue.
We like the myth of the genius inventor or the brilliant writer. We want to hear more about the talent that simply cannot be stopped: so much to write and create.
But pull back the curtain on their work and you see lots of failure and many bad first-, second-, third-, twenty-fifth drafts. Just ask Edison. Or Hemingway. L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz was rejected so many times he kept a journal he called a “Record of Failure.”
That’s why our ongoing conversations are so critical. These conversations—with friends/colleagues/spouse, with media, with a keyboard, with ourselves, with God—are the process by which we sort all kinds of life-stuff. An artist friend has challenged me to attempt an abstract watercolor. I’m no artist, but I do produce dumb sketches every day. It helps to have the bar set very, very low.
The only way I can move forward with an abstract image is to think of the entire project as a conversation. But this conversation is between a bit of burnt sienna, a dab of periwinkle, a waterbrush and a slice of Strathmore 90# paper. I call it a conversation because I am only bringing the elements together and have no clue what the result will be. I call it a conversation because I await the new thing that often results from the interplay. I’ll likely not call it art.
It’s the “something-new from old” that energizes creators. Today’s copy project also requires a conversation between old elements, a clarified message from my client and a new audience. Again: I’m trusting process rather than brilliance. Because any brilliance that happens grows organically out of process.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston