Creativity can be such a head game. Hundreds, if not thousands of ideas swirl through the head of a person endlessly. Yet it is what you do with these ideas that sets one person apart from another.
It it is a misconception that they need to be completely visualised before starting. They don’t need to be fully imagined. By starting with them, in the process of creating them, you figure out where they are going. They tell you where to go next too. It is a process and a wandering journey, yet one without the clearest route or destination. So the destination is a book or an artwork, a performance or series. Rather than a fully visualised and meticulously planned journey.
I am trying to apply this approach to my writing as it works so well with my photography. I wish I had the confidence and foresight to do this with my drawing and painting. But no one pointed this out at the time, for it was something I had to learn along the way.
So how do I use this knowledge? Well, it is easily summed up with the words ‘Just start’. They say a journey of a thousand kilometres starts with a single step, and you can now see why this ancient proverb is so meaningful.
It is definitely an art to stop worrying about the final form and just getting in there and starting. Letting the process of making inform you of the direction to continue in.
I write down as many ideas as I can, one bounding off the other. They come in spurts and pour out in a flood. I try to record them all without judgement. Latter, I wander through them and grab the one that inspires me at the time. That becomes my start.
When I wander with my camera the same thing happens. Lots of ideas, slowly one surfaces and becomes the starting point. Hours latter I finish, the act of creating has lead me somewhere I hadn’t imagined.
You don’t need a finishing point, what you need is the starting point. It’s ok to start with the vaguest idea. The key is to just start.
One tree, the Snowy Mountains near Jindabyne, Australia. Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2018