Sometimes the hardest part of a project is not finishing. It’s starting. I find myself there right now with a project I wrote about earlier. My Stations of the Cross series of paintings. Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t have an idea. I have one that I have clearly delineated and even wrote about here. I love the idea, I’ve wanted to do it for a long time, but I’m stuck at the starting line. I know the project is going to be a huge amount of work; fourteen pieces of art. I also know I want them to have a common style so they look like a cohesive collection, and that is at least part of the problem. I want to make sure I am happy with the direction it is going because once I do one, I am going to have to make all the others fit with it (or at lest thats how it feels in my mind.)

As I think on this issue, I think I have found my way around it. This is not an all or nothing situation, or at least it doesn’t have to be. If I create the first piece and I don’t like it, I can use it for something else and start over. Thinking like that removes the pressure of getting it right the first time. In creative things, that almost never happens anyway. Secondly I know I want to have it all done for next holy week. This deadline is also pressuring me because I feel like I have a limited time to experiment to get it right. Now if you’ve been reading this for any length of time you know I am a big fan of deadlines. They help us stop procrastinating and get it done but with a project of this magnitude, it may just take longer than a year. I imposed the deadline and I can change it. That alleviates a lot of pressure as well and as I’ve said many times, “Artists who say they work best under pressure are full of it.” Pressure can really curtail creativity and help to keep us from starting.

The other problem I am having that is keeping me a little stuck at the start is how will I use it? Will it be for my church, my speaking ministry or both? Do I want to do something I could get into a gallery or something that will travel with me and end up being speed painted. Working this out will also help me know which direction to take and for this project at this stage, that is important.

When it comes to all this stuff, I am usually a “ready, fire, aim” kind of guy. Starting and pressing through it to the end. I love working that way because even my false starts will often lead to something new. The starting line can be intimidating, but it is an essential point on the journey to finishing. To finish you have to start. So start. I’ll start too. The worst thing that can happen is I end up messing up and have to start over. Failure is not an option to creatives, it’s a necessity, so start. You’ll either succeed or you’ll fail and if you fail, you’ll learn from it, fail forward until you succeed.

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