Other students and clients resist making time for Process because they don’t want to waste time playing around. They want to be efficient.
The truth is creativity is NEVER efficient.
Creativity is, by definition, exploring the new, seeking the unexpected, discovering the novel association. Efficiency is repeating a learned behavior to achieve the same result again and again with minimum investment of time and energy. The two are mutually exclusive.
“To work in the lab is to embrace the idea that what you’re working on might not work. Not to merely tolerate this feeling, but to seek it out.
The factory, on the other hand, prizes reliability and productivity. The factory wants no surprises, it wants what it did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.”
Leave Efficiency at the Door
You simply can’t have assembly line efficiency when you’re doing something you’ve never done before.
Oh, you can be efficient in how you prepare your workspace and materials, in how you get started and how you finish, but at some point you leave the familiar behind to enter the mystery of creativity.
At that point, expectations of efficiency have to be left behind as well. Exploring mystery is NOT going to be efficient.
If you’re not willing to be inefficient in your creativity, you’re doomed to either censor yourself into an enormous and painful block, or be perpetually disappointed in yourself.
The Real Work Begins
When you enter that mystery, the real work begins. Before that, it’s just preparation and maybe a little procrastination and posturing.
There are no guarantees. You may spend months, even years, on a writing project that “never goes anywhere.” You might never figure it out. Creative mystery is not for sissies. Or for efficiency freaks.
The mystery is also where the real fun begins. Your willingness to surrender to the mystery and uncertainty, to not know exactly where your writing is taking you, how you’ll get there, or even if you will get anywhere at all, that willingness is the wellspring of your joy.
You throw yourself on the water slide and let the current carry you through the tunnel to who knows where, screaming “Whee!” all the way.
When I remember that I write because I need to surrender to the mystery that will lead me to joy, I stop worrying about whether I’m wasting time and I have a whee of a time! I hope you do, too!