A handy guide for to-be Artists, Creatives & Mistakes
Most people think an artist’s process is ‘spontaneous’ & ‘magical’. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth — especially for noobs. While the pro s— in art or advertising realise the power of a strict routine and discipline, those taking baby steps into this whole new world may feel like they are losing their minds.
If you’re a to-be (copy)writer, a designer or creative of sorts— by profession or by passion, by choice or by chance, you rely heavily on ‘feeling creative’. This model is like eating out every day — exciting, but potentially unhealthy in the long term as it leaves a lot up to chance.
In the initial days, ‘feeling inspired’ may not be particularly pleasant either. Its a fleeting sense of reflective candor for some, and a schizophrenic rush for others. I have a name for mine — ‘mellow mayusi’ (English: mellow melancholy).
The process of realising when this mood ‘strikes’, safely strap in & airlift as much from it as possible can be the difference between a particularly satisfying masterpiece & pulling out a handful of hair follicles. If you’re among the artists, the creatives, the mistakes, here’s a quick guide to how you can step in and out of this often dizzying process, hopefully unscathed:
There are 3 phases in the noob’s somewhat frustrating somewhat satisfying creative process — the Scatter Brain, the Guilt Trip and the Exposé.
Put your phone on silent or vibrate to set the mood, and don’t pick calls while you’re working on the initial draft. Unless you’re a doctor, a firefighter, a spy or security personnel, your definition of an ‘emergency call’ is a request for another brainless brainstorming Zoom call or your mom checking in if you’ve had your meals. Necessary, but not urgent & important.
Check your mailbox at periodic intervals only. A clean mailbox doesn’t mean a productive day. Sending messages, making calls & typing emails is not work — what you get done, or others get done from you with these is the real work.
Last, but not least, create webs around your house to grab fleeting thoughts. Figure out where you have most of your creative thoughts — in the shower, on the pot, on your bed and have a writing pad in each of these places. I have 3 splashproof LCD writing pads — one in the washroom, one by the bed, and the other by my lounge chair.
We suffer more in our imagination than in real life — in pondering what ‘others’ might think of what we put out into the world. Once you’ve had an idea and outlined it while inspiration ‘struck’, develop it like a shameless prick by brute force.
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
— Neil Gaiman
To hell with the ‘right’ words, the ‘right’ brush strokes or the ‘right’ tools — create the lamest, shabbiest, most disgusting & gut-wrenching version.
Then take a break.
Come back as the snob critic. Flush down all paternal/maternal feelings towards the newborn, and stab at it mercilessly. Give yourself brownie points for pointing out deformities, sneer at blunders and come to the noob’s rescue eventually.
This is when you get cold feet even in the April heat! Just get it out into the world, and soon — the rest will follow.
Publish ANYWHERE — quite literally, any social network or blog where you can self-publish instantly. Once it's already in the public domain, create version 2.0, the works.
You are what you repeatedly do, now keep at it like your life depends on it.