Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What creative process? Where?

People talk all the time about "the creative process" as if it were some sort of item you could go out and purchase, although it would be pricey. And creative individuals are often asked: what is your creative process? as if though the reply would: "Oh, I got that new improved model in mauve." My answer is usually a blank stare and I suspect that I'm not alone. It just seems to me that the word "process" is a stickler, because that seems rigid and repeatable, like a computer program. A really dull computer program that doesn't even do much or even possess any interesting glitches. Creativity seems more organic, although even organic has processes--things rot don't they? And hopefully things grow before they rot.

But "process" also brings with it the idea that everything can be known about it. Yeah, sure, we know the process of photosynthesis and that's how plants grow, so how does a novel grow? Or a painting? By sitting outside in the sunshine? Melanoma alert.

I believe that creativity can be grown, fostered, increased. And it's a process, but one that has elements that can't be captured, they have to be experienced...oh, and what fun that experience is! Sometimes in the search for "process" for quantifying this and that, I suspect we can destroy the very thing we're attempting to create.

Secret: Are you dealing with a dreaded ion? No, I don't mean the good stuff in air. I mean reject-ion, that horrid bugaboo that anyone creative encounters, all the time. How do you deal with that little slip of paper, the phone call, the gallery owner all saying NO. And yes, it feels like the "no" is not just "sorry this isn't quite right for us" but rather "how dare you, you horrid untalented idiot, have the audacity to even dream of creating?!"

What works: reframing. When I first started submitting my short stories those nasty bits of paper flowed to me. Sometimes I'd get a couple a day. AARGH. When I read that the average number of rejections before a professional sale was 200 submissions, I reframed the rejections. It became a game: How many manuscripts can I submit this week? Can I wall paper my office with these rejection slips? Can you guess how many submissions it took? Only 197 before my first pro sale! I beat the odds!

1 comment:

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, it's odd to be commenting on my own blog! This is a test and a learning process for me, I want to see if it works!