‘Artsy types’ (see the somewhat flawed ‘right-brain’ definition in an earlier blog) exude creativity, but usually struggle to realize their full potential. And those who are not visibly or obviously creative often leave their latent talents completely unexplored. Why is that?
First, many people are so completely absorbed by their jobs, and indeed their overall life circumstances, that they devote literally no time to being creative. That was certainly true of me. I was a career business executive in financial services, who devoted negligible time to my creative passion of choice, writing and poetry, until after my long career. I strongly suspect that is true of most people, who are simply too busy with what they have to do to devote time to what they want to do. In the words of the proverbial cliché: ‘Life happens’…
And it is entirely possible that traditional career choices actually discourage (subtly or even blatantly) creativity. Should the CEO be writing poetry? Should the CFO be composing music and playing in a band? I will explore societal obstacles to creativity in much more detail in future blogs.
And the other problem, equally debilitating, is that many creative people have absolutely no clue as to how to actually proceed. Perhaps they don’t recognize their hidden talents, perhaps they lack confidence or underestimate themselves, perhaps they just don’t know how to get started.
Fulfillment of creative potential requires a number of essential elements.
· First there must be recognition of the passion and talent.
· Then the serious desire to explore and create is needed.
· Finally, the honest commitment to devote the time and energy required to succeed is crucial.
Art in any form (writing/poetry, painting/sculpting, music, photography/film, etc.) requires hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. Any unwilling or unable to conscientiously proceed with all of these fundamentals is preordained to never produce beautiful and meaningful work.
Assuming that the basics listed above are present, what is most needed for any creative person desiring to produce serious art in any form is a roadmap, a blueprint, a process to follow. That is different for each art form (writing poetry is different than composing music, is different from painting in oil or watercolors, is different from taking a photograph or producing a movie, etc.). And it is different for each person. What works for one may well be different, indeed probably is different, than what works for another. But the approach for developing a personalized process can be standardized.
Demonstrating with my chosen vocation, writing poetry: What I do is perhaps unique to building a poem, and is certainly unique to my way of doing it.
· I first identify a timely idea, something that resonates with me and that I consider important or interesting to the broader world (i.e. my intended audience).
· I always insist on a life lesson, a teachable moment, a moral of the story. I usually start with a ‘punchline’ intended to nail that foundational point.
· I usually develop a prose version of my storyline, to assure a logical flow with a beginning, an ending, and a sequential flow of ideas in between.
· I do several iterations of each poem, the first with rough lines and rhymes, then each successive version refining lines and rhymes, etc.
· My final version is only complete when I am satisfied that I have achieved a tight structure, strong rhyming within and between stanzas and verses, a musical readability with meter and rhythm, and advanced wordsmithing.
I will expand upon all of this in much greater detail in future blogs, both for my approach to poetry, and for how this type of roadmap (process) can be developed for other art forms.
For now the key takeaway is that the process, in any field, is fundamental to creating the final work products, art in any form.