The creative process has been in my mind a lot lately. This list of creative stages attributed to Paul Arden rings a bell:
Image found via Lagom Design.
The impostor syndrome is probably all too familiar to many creative types. Turning a hobby, skill or a passion into a profession can be daunting even if you have extensive experience with it. Looking through the Arden list, I realized that in my meager year-plus in business, I’ve only ever assessed my progress in terms of stage 5 (“This might be ok”).
Last December and January, I set goals for my business for 2014. In addition to a financial goal, I identified two pragmatic ones. Before seeing Arden’s creative process list, though, I didn’t realize that I actually had a third type of a goal floating in my brain in vague, undefined terms: I also want to improve my creative thinking.
That thought collided with this tweet by writer / director Joss Whedon:
The best thing an artist can hope for is a moment of certainty.
— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) September 10, 2014
Originally, I misread it as “The best thing an artist can hope for is a moment of clarity” instead of “moment of certainty”. Both would actually work – you need clarity for certainty.
In decided terms, then, my creative goals for the fall are to:
1) reach clarity and certainty. For me it means gaining a realistic view of where my work is in relation to where I want to take it, and what steps remain to get there.
2) reach Arden stage 6: “This is awesome…”
Both of these goals ultimately condense into a four-word concept:
I can do it!
(I adapted J. Howard Miller’s 1942 Rosie the Riveter poster with a soft focus and comic book filter. Poster via the National Museum of American History.)