Creativity in the New Year

A Sunday or so ago, I read an article by Hugo Lindgren, the editor of the New York Times Magazine, lamenting (but not really) his failure to produce the “Masterwork of Spectacular Brilliance.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/magazine/be-wrong-as-fast-as-you-can.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

He talks in the piece about the stage when a creative project can sink into the “muck of mediocrity,” as it “takes those first vulnerable steps from luxurious abstraction to unforgiving reality” – an always helpful restatement of how hard it is to go from nothing to something.

To my stashed words of wisdom, I recently added ones by John Cleese. He lists familiar factors for making life more creative: space, time, confidence, and humor, and says, “This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If you just keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.”

Over the holiday I read “Creative Thursday: Everyday Inspiration to Grow Your Creative Practice,” by the artist Marisa Anne Cummings. (She has a website by the same name.) The book is full of her charming illustrations, making her words memorable – evidence that she “keeps ‘agoing.” (A good phrase for the back of one’s mind.)

Hugo Lindgreen has another riff, this one on ideas. “Ideas, in a sense, are overrated. Of course you need good ones, but at this point in our supersaturated culture, precious few are so novel that nobody has ever thought of them before. It’s really about where you take the idea, and how committed you are to solving the endless problems that come up in the execution.”

Designer Dana Tanamachi’s New Year resolution, ”to aid in the flourishing of others,” resonated with me when I read it, because next to Lady Baby and the sweet wedding, the great joy of 2012 was designing The Workroom. I loved watching the participants, each in her own way, engage with chosen tasks and experience the stages of creative work.

It’s helpful to read and to take note of quotes like the ones above, but it really encourages to encounter people practicing creativity. The Workroom offers the support of a group, kindred souls, waiting for and expecting solutions to the “problems and puzzles” of creative work.

It’s exciting to think about another group of participants for a spring session of The Workroom (March 4 to April 12). I hope you will consider it!

new beginnings