We’ve all heard people say it, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” And I know, I know…it’s so frickin’ frustrating!!! We all want to be THERE already. We want that script to be written, to book the juicy role, to have the movie green-lit, and for the show to be on Broadway. We are a results-oriented culture — we can’t help it! But by being too focused on the end-game, we miss what is trying to happen right now.
To accept this beautiful life as an artist, we have to learn to fall in love with the PROCESS.
The 3rd Step is all about that: acknowledge, accept, and allow where you are.
The Process of Creating will demand that we be in the present moment, where all the good stuff happens. We have to let go of the past and trust that the future will unfold as it should. If we can do that, we harness our strongest point of leverage.
Here. Now. This is where your power is.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” — Kurt Vonnegut
The Feminine Principle behind Step 3:
LET IT FLOW
In this step you are encouraged to get messy with your ideas! Play!!! Brainstorm without boundaries and write that first draft with zero attachment – let go of perfection! We gotta first allow crudity in order for our true genius to emerge unencumbered by the “when’s,” “if’s,” and “but’s.”
I like to call it “Bless the Mess!”
Sometimes, when I’m writing, I just have to tell myself “be free.” I just have to keep repeating this in my head, so I don’t get attached to having to be “good.” I need permission to not be perfect. When I’m in the state of allowing, then I can be open, and that’s when a miracle might happen. I may get surprised by something that pops in my head, or discover one of those happy accidents.
Einstein knew this: “To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play…” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ”It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
I like to think of it as “in the sandbox” time…Throw the dirt on the walls, get messy, be child, be silly…If you are having fun when you are creating, chances are THAT vibration is going to show up in your work, and its going to translate and be contagious to those that see it.
When we are letting it flow, our subconscious gets to work through us. Often it knows what to do more than our conscious mind does. I like how Miles Davis put it: “I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.” He knew something was coming through him that was faster than his mind would compute. It was coming from his soul, and it had an intelligence all its own.
In order to get into this zone, we have to come to what we are doing with an open heart, judgement free, fully-engaged. So, shake off where ever it is you think you are trying to get to, open up, and HAVE FUN!!!
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” — Dale Carnegie
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves.” – Carl Jung
The Masculine Principle behind Step 4:
These Masculine and Feminine Principles are almost always opposites. So after we get done “letting it flow,” then its time to go back through and “create order.” This is where the editing happens, when notes are given, and the work is refined.
It’s discernment. It’s trimming off the fat, and focusing in on the essential. It’s asking the tough questions, and rising our game so that we can be our best.
I think it’s really important to make sure that we don’t do this step too soon. This where people freeze up. They never get a page written, because they are too busy making sure every sentence on the first page is exactly right.
The novelist Dominick Dunne said, ”The best advice on writing was given to me by my first editor, Michael Korda, of Simon and Schuster, while writing my first book. ‘Finish your first draft and then we’ll talk,’ he said. It took me a long time to realize how good the advice was. Even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.”
It’s as if “letting it flow” is like dumping all the raw material out onto the table. Then we step back, look at what we did, and see where improvement is necessary. But we need to able to see the whole, in order to evaluate it. It’s at this time that we can reflect, ask questions, and get input. Finally, we are ready to step in, using our craft, and start shaping.
I find that the great thing about this step, is that if we ask others, we will find out what’s needs to be fixed in our piece. Of course, anyone who has gotten Studio Development notes, knows that there is plenty of bogus feedback out there. Everyone has opinions, and sometimes those opinions are based on personal beliefs and they aren’t true for your work. In order to discern good notes from bad, I like to use this rule for myself: 1) if someone gives me a note, and it feels like truth in my body — fix it; 2) if three people give me the same note, it’s pointing out an issue — fix it.
“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” – Arthur Plotnik
This is our job. To be able, and willing, to do both. To fall in love with the great mysteries that occur when we are playing in the creative process, and to fall in love with the refinement.
As we do this, we realize “there’s no ‘there’ there.” The only thing that we have is loving this sweet job we have of making something out of nothing.
I hope you enjoy the process of where ever you are today!