A product of Western culture, I’m as carried away as anyone with the idea that we need to do more, more more.
This obsession with productivity means that it’s easy to believe there’s something wrong with us when we’re not reliably and mechanistically productive.
But a productive outcome is just one very small part of the circuitous (and occasionally tortuous) journey that is the creative process.
Creating isn’t about going from A to B, no matter how much we might want it to be. That’s why it isn’t a road for the faint-hearted.
Even the idea that we need to ‘fail often’ makes the whole thing sound simpler than it really is.
To be creators, we have to simultaneously let go of certainty whilst at the same time being certain that we will get where we need to go.
We have to accept that we will spend many hours that no-one else would label as productive, but that are essential for us to arrive at our mysterious destination.
To be creators we may throw away more than we keep, spend whole weeks alternately prowling and staring at the ceiling, and even years making false starts.
We must spend moons immersed in solitude babbling incoherently to ourselves, and yet, at the drop of a hat, be prepared to put ourselves ‘out there’ and talk articulately about our work.
To be creators we must wear the hats of nanny and task-master, boss and slave. We must navigate that thin line that distinguishes incubating from abandoning our work.
We must give ourselves oceans of leeway while simultaneously reining in our imagination so that it remains within enough lines to keep our work recognisable.
To be creators we must be prepared tramp, lost through the dark forest, and yet also grow wings and fly close to the sun.
We must write and re-write, draw and re-draw, record and re-record, with the finicky patience of a saint and the feverish energy of a dervish.
To be creators we must be both deeply human and supremely spiritual, profoundly down to earth and yet transcendentally visionary.
So on the days that you prowl and prod, sigh and sleep, look despairingly to the heavens or the darkness of your navel, please remember. This is normal .
This IS the process.