The Creative Process is More Important than the End Result

Reviewing selections of Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self by Don Hahn

“As hard as you may try, you can’t guarantee a positive reaction to your personal brand of creativity.”

Aint that the truth?! As hard as we all might try, each one of us creatives may never see or feel the success we so badly crave. That doesnt mean that if at first we dont succeedwe need to pack our bag, tools, or materials and quit (This isnt Pitch Perfectpoor Aubrey).

So what do we do? We keep on creating with our ideas, hands, bodies, tools, instruments, and creative brainsno matter what.

Throughout history, creatives have struggled with success, and more often than not, find it well-after theyre gone from this world. This is when Hahn references an artist, musician, writer, and comedian who, during their time and shortly after the original inception of their work, found little to no success. These now famous and well-respected individuals are Vincent Van Gogh, Wolfgang Mozart, Herman Melville, and Jerry Seinfeld. Besides their initial lack of [financial or otherwise] success, whats the common thread that ties them together? For Hahn, its their drive to create, regardless of the outcome.These creatives were committed to their craft day in, day out no matter what happened, regardless of the perceived success or failure of their work,and no matter what else was going on in their lives.

Next, we need to examine the idea of SUCCESSand what it means to each of us. So, when you see the following equation, which part do you focus on? Which part do you see as most important?

Ideas + Materials + Process + Quality + Marketing = Success & Money

In Hahns book, he mentions that our capitalist system pushes us towards tangible success, which forces us to weigh our success or failure by reviews and financial rewards. By focusing on the end-products, rather than the process and journey of the creation, Hahn believes we set ourselves up for a life of boredom, stress, and tension. He notes that in our goal-oriented lives, we lose track of the earlier parts of the equation the ideas, materials, and quality of workthat are the soul of our truly remarkable creations. Cant quite relate to this? Think of creative production as a big, long vacation where, during your journey, you create many memories and do all sorts of interesting things. Then, when its time for your to return home, you and your family/friends recount and revel in the highs and lows of the trip itselfnot the deadline of returning home. Sound relatable? Thats because the arrival home means very little; the journey means everything. A creative journey is the same.When you focus on the journey and not the arrival, then your art becomes more like a treasured artifact of the creative process. A painting, a poem, a sketch, or a piece of music that youve written becomes a record or your life a souvenir of the creative process, just as much as the photos are an artifact of your unforgettable travels…”

What do you now think is the most important part of the equation? While finances may always be a notable aspect that we all wish for, do you now place more importance on the process, rather than the end result? Do you see how reveling in every minute of the creative process can make for a more substantial, true, and well-loved journey? Conversely, if we all continuously focus on the end-result and the deadline, we will likely miss out on the inspired works that keep us motivated and engaged in our creative selves. When creatives create something, most of want someone else to love it just as much as we do. Call us needy or narcissists, but the craving for acceptance is real. However, when you create simply to create for yourself or that idea that drives you forward something else happens. This something may not be appreciated by anyone else, but it can hold your heart and fill you with purpose, because its all your own and its a piece of you its what you built and its your artifact.

So go absorb yourself in your creative efforts. Love every minute of the process, and treasure every artifact or idea you finally create.

Dont miss next months installment in the #YourCreativeSelf series Pursue Your Happiness.

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