7 Ways To Spontaneous Creating
One of the paths to artistic alchemy is remaining open to spontaneity when one is creating. In an article written by Jeremy Sutton, artist, author, educator and speaker, he offers seven essential ways to embrace the unexpected, be spontaneous and remain open to what unfolds during the creative process.
The Creativity Attitude! 7 Step Program
By Jeremy Sutton ©2009
- Embrace Every Problem as a Gift
Creativity starts with an inspiration. That inspiration can be an idea you have or a problem you face. Every idea presents a problem as well as an opportunity. Put another way, Inspiration = Problem + Opportunity. The problem, or challenge, is how to manifest and realize the idea. The opportunity is to engage in the process of exploring solutions and to bring something into existence that didn’t exist before. With this perspective you can now embrace every problem and challenge as a gift. Every problem is an opportunity for creativity.
- Lay Out the Red Carpet for the Unexpected
Creativity can be looked at as a process of continual transition and discovery where the end result evolves in an organic way, taking on a life and voice of its own. Creativity welcomes, celebrates and lays out the red carpet for the unexpected. The unexpected will always happen. The only question is how we react to the unexpected. Creativity involves flowing with what is rather than either forcing another solution or giving up. It involves seeing the unexpected as an opportunity rather than a barrier. Treat your journey in creating as a path of continual improvisation. When something happens that you don’t like or expect, see it as an opportunity to make your creation more interesting. The unexpected is a launching point or catalyst for creative growth.
- Make All the Mistakes You Can
There’s a lot of trial and error in creative process. A lot of : “This doesn’t work, this doesn’t look right, this doesn’t feel right, this isn’t working, ahh, this works!” This echoes the advice attributed to IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr. to “go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.” Legendary sound editor Walter Murch, in his book In the Blink of an Eye, makes the point, in discussing the enormous task of editing the film Apocalypse Now, that the actual rate of cuts per editor per day turned out to be 1.47, a process that takes under 10 seconds. It took Murch a year to edit his sections of the film. If he’d known exactly where he was going at the beginning, he could have just come in for 10 seconds of work each day! His point is that creativity, in this case film sound editing, “is not so much a putting together as it is a discovery of a path”.
Accept that the creative process involves trial and error and frustration. In reality there is no such thing as a mistake in your creative process, simply marks that add to the richness and character of your creation, and which may take you in a new unexpected direction. The Navajo weavers are reputed to purposely create a flaw in their weaving, with the attitude that God is in the imperfections. With that in mind we can take a new look at our mistakes.
- Be a Risk-Taker
Helen Keller expressed a simple truth regarding the futility of fear: “avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” The biggest barrier to creativity is fear: fear of letting go, fear of missing out, fear of starting, fear of completion, fear of imperfection, fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, fear of computers, fear of the unknown, and fear of other people’s judgment. Do any of these ring a bell? They certainly do for me. When it comes to creative and expressive endeavors, whether art related or in some other aspect of your life, be a risk-taker. Allow yourself the freedom to fail, to trip up, to be vulnerable. Sometimes it’s risky being honest and real, but it’s worth taking that risk for the power and beauty of what results.
- Be Spontaneous
The blank canvas or the empty dance floor can elicit both fear and excitement. To start creating, we need to overcome our fears and open ourselves to being vulnerable and exposed. We also need to forget old patterns, attitudes, and habits. This is always easier said than done. Every time I am about to begin a live digital portrait in front of an audience, I face fear. A voice in me asks: “What if it ends up looking nothing like the subject?” “What if I make a fool of myself?” and so on. Yet it is that very risk, of ploughing into the unknown, of being vulnerable, of creating something spontaneous and unrehearsed, that excites and interests the audience, and that keeps me learning and developing. My creative process is a continual dance with letting go and overcoming fears. Allowing myself to be spontaneous is one of the tools that helps me overcome my fears and drown out the voices of doubt.
- Be Committed
Commitment has power. Be committed to the process of learning and experimenting. Be committed to taking risks. Be committed to persevering even when the going gets tough! Every creative process has it’s ugly stages. Those are the times you feel like giving up, starting a fresh, throwing in the towel! Those are also the times when it is most powerful not to give up but to persevere and see what lies at the other end of the tunnel. If you need to take a break do so, but then return to the process and see where it leads. The easiest way to remain committed through the ugly stages is to be highly motivated. The easiest way to be highly motivated is to focus on something you care about. Passion is a great motivator. When you care and are passionate about what you are doing, the creative process becomes an exciting and energizing journey, even in the tough stages.
- Trust in Yourself
Trust in yourself and in your creative process. Allow yourself the freedom to be creative. Listen to your inner voice, your gut feeling, your intuition. In trusting the creative process you become one with the creative process—totally absorbed. It is safe to be vulnerable. It is safe to honestly express your emotions in the creative process. Accept how you are, who you are, and what you create. Do not be overcritical of yourself. Acceptance allows us to open ourselves to the intuitive, to flow with the organic unfolding of the creative process, to enjoy improvisation, to relish the role of serendipity, the accidental, and the unintentional.
For more information on Jeremy Sutton visit www.jeremysutton.com.