A clean blank sheet of paper. A place to put down your thoughts. Some fear the blank page or the white canvas of a painter. But if you are a basically creative person, you don’t fear much, you just jump in and see what kind of mess you can make. And yes, sometimes you just end up making a bigger and bigger mess and I’ve done it more than a few times. After you have made your mess then you can get down to the essence of your creativity.
I have to write several articles before I have one that is worth sharing. I will start writing then I get sidetracked. Mostly it is the news of the day that distracts my thoughts and my writing starts slanting to the negative. Once it starts down that path, I have to stop, pull the paper off my clipboard and drop it into the trash.
It is then time for another clean, white blank sheet of paper and a few moments to clear my mind of the negative thoughts. Sometimes this works, other times I keep feeding the trash can. The other problem I have when I write is writing and thinking in circles. I start out okay but my thinking will run in a circle and I am back at the beginning where I started without saying much of anything worth sharing. I’m beginning to think that this is part of my Irish heritage at play. I think sometimes that when I kissed the Blarney Stone some of its dust went into my mouth and I swallowed it. The trouble is I have never been to Ireland, at least not physically. Well, that’s another story.
What I am trying to convey to you is that your first attempts may be failures but failure is very much part of the creative process. It is through our failures that the hidden face of success shows itself. And it doesn’t always mean you will see big successes. The small ones are very important also. They can lead to bigger successes as long as you don’t get discouraged by the inevitable new failures you will still have to encounter. Success is a steep narrow path with gaps, breaks, and multiple obstacles. Your hands will get dirty. The sweat will roll off your head and make puddles in your glasses making it very hard to see and focus. Lean back, take your glasses off, wipe them off, then wipe the sweaty forehead. Take a few short breaths if you’re young. If you are older, maybe a break is in order then get back into it while you are active. I usually write five articles completely before I have a usable one to share. This doesn’t count the one page false starts that never get completed to the article stage.
If I was a paid writer, I would likely starve. I do have a better track record as a painter but I have been actively at it for more than 60 years and counting. What I have been hoping for is by sharing my thoughts I would help others understand a bit more about art and artists, the creative process and that it is not for just a few people but art is part of all of us whether it be painting, sculpting, writing, playing an instrument or making a quilt or card for a special person. It is making something and sharing that something with someone else. Making and sharing is where it is all at. Life lived only for ourselves is a very isolated, lonely road and it does not have to be that way.
Find a hobby. Make something then give it to someone else. You will feel so much better about yourself and the world you live in.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at (740) 852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.