Creativity: Mistakes? Or just the risky path

“Creating is a mistake-making adventure.”  Eric Maisel

No one would choose to make a mistake.  But they are an integral part of the learning process…and the creative process. It takes many ideas to come up with a good one – it takes many mistakes to create a masterpiece (in whatever form you are using).

The trick is to simply plan on them…consider your work a step-by-step-by-step process instead of an outcome – oriented process.  This perspective allows the work to be fluid and changeable, without feeling like a failure when each step proves to be not quite right.  It is like driving at night using headlights;  each step is vital to take you to the next one.   And each course correction gets you closer to your preferred outcome.

It’s important to be able to admit them without being blocked or damaged.  Each appraisal must take into consideration the overall vision, to make sure you’re on track.  However, if you view it as course correction, you avoid letting the “mistake” halt your continued efforts, and instead, maintain a belief in yourself and your work.  Welcoming them as opportunities to clarify and distill your vision, while simultaneously allowing the Force beyond ourselves to enter into the process,  enhances your creative possibilities.  You are making mistakes in the service of something vital, in the service of creation.

Using your curiosity, experimenting, trying something, and making mistakes in doing so, all draw upon your ability to risk.  What’s the harm in just trying something?  Treat it as an experiment; that way, you build in the learning factor, which includes that trial and error method.  It includes many errors or mistakes before the truth, the art emerges.

I have to remind myself of this in many situations, as I easily default to being a perfectionist.  “Let’s just try this and see what happens.”  I have room to breathe, and many chances to bring the process to satisfaction.   In some situations, it’s even fun to try and make a mistake, just to see what working outside the norms will teach me.  I recently learned about wabi (Japanese) – a work of art is made unique by its flaws and elevated to the rank of art because it is flawed.  Native Americans also sew in an explicit mistake in their blanket weaving, and it is part of the resulting art.

A work of art is miraculous, a great gift.  Let us also bring respect and honor for the mistakes that help us create in this miraculous process.

“If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out.”  Rabindranath Tagore

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