Are we waiting at the station or staring out the window as the world rolls by along the route to an undefined destination? Sometimes creativity can feel like a limbo of sorts, that consistently fluctuates to maintain our position in the middle.
It's easy to find a continuum in commercial projects, or those with a defined purpose like commissions or events. Unfortunately though, in the world of development, one can feel stuck in a perpetual stasis between beginnings and ends.
Shoulder to shoulder our ideas and concepts jostle for position and attention. Our time is finite, bringing with it a desire to sample all the flavours of possibility, which is unsurprisingly a fool's errand. I've talked about purpose and intent before, but with all good intentions aside, sometimes it feels like all creativity is a journey without end.
I'm in the midst of this middling existential quandary that sits beneath the surface of every moment I put pen to paper. It wasn't all that apparent until I had a counter point last week when I undertook a couple of projects with defined parameters and timelines. They reminded me that while there's purpose in free creative exploration, having a defined goal really feels like the accelerator was down for better or worse.
Having that drive to create a specific piece goes a long way, but it begs the question of how the same momentum can be harnessed for open-ended expression. To advance and learn we must practice and pursue some development, but the hardest part is finding the trees amongst the forest.
When I'm zoomed out, I can see that spending time creating anything at all is a benefit that will surely serve my development. Kicking through a few orders of magnification is what makes things blurry, as I stare at the blank page with pen in hand, wondering where to start.
Maybe it's a side effect of the paradox of choice; wherein the open freedom of a creative universe of possibility becomes more debilitating than liberating. Having limitations and restrictions provide an avenue for a smaller choice to become more satisfying. Accomplishing a single prescribed task may well be more valuable than attempting a random selection from infinite options.
Regardless of the realities of choice, the creative limbo remains. I don't really know a way around it yet, but I imagine it might come from defining a style and philosophy within which to operate.
This is all closely related to the value of purpose and time, so I believe there is a need for focused development along with free expression. I know I'll continue to spend time on random doodles of anything and everything that pops into mind, but not at the expense of a more directed approach.
I'm reminded of the series of pieces that I have in mind to create. They are tantalisingly attractive as they contain theme, volume and purpose. If the doodles are sprawling root systems on the ground, these series are like the canopy that towers over them. I'll take this as a reminder to myself not to focus on pure freedom at the expense of producing something with meaning and structure.
There's great value in purposefully doodling away to further the relationship between hand and paper, but what's it all for if there's nothing else to witness? Never forget to shit or get off the pot.