Monday, 21 November 2011

Something from Nothing

For the first time ever I have really struggled with my blog today. I have had lots of ideas floating around for days, one in particular, but I didn’t strike when inspiration hit and now have written, re-written and started again and it still just doesn’t feel right. I’ve tried all the usual tricks, just get started and write. Set the timer, bullet points, everything, but nothing is working.

I just can’t seem to commit to anything today, and that is the crux of all creativity, indeed doing anything, taking an idea and committing to it.

The trouble with creating, whether it’s a blog post, a set of shelves or a work of art is always getting started, deciding which that is the best way to do something and being brave enough to allow it to take shape. And I think that is often what puts people off giving something a go. What if I do the wrong thing? What if I put my time and energy into something that isn’t right? But then if you don’t try you are putting your time and energy into nothing, and you will always be wondering what if?

We finally put in for planning permission for our extension in August, permission still hasn’t come through and that’s actually a good thing because we still haven’t decided what it is that we want. We have the bare bones of an idea, but the final layout is constantly changing. Because putting a building down on paper and actually committing to it are two different things. We will have to live with it for the rest of our lives, what if we do the wrong thing? There are so many things we can do, I can’t picture us ever committing to one idea (but we must because we need a second bathroom, I am fed up with having to share my shower time with a pooing child).

The man did a brilliant tiling job in our last flat. I thought it looked beautiful. But every day when he went in there he came out irritated and annoyed because he felt he could have done a better job. It would have looked better with smaller gaps, he had used the wrong size spacers, etc etc.

For me it was more important that we actually had tiles, white ones, not the brown (yes brown) tiles that resided there previously. If he had thought about it any more than he did, it may never have got done at all, and I was proud of him for creating a bathroom for us from a few boxes of tiles and bare walls.

Whether you like it or not you are always creating something. It might be a shepherds pie, a spreadsheet or a working car, but in every activity there is that same difficult time when you have to decide on how to do something and allow yourself to do it, and thinking too much and trying to get something just so is the enemy of getting things done. It’s the ultimate procrastination technique. If we all stood around all day trying to think of different ways to do something nothing would ever get done. And sometimes you just have to be brave and let it fly.

But maybe that is the thrill. Maybe that’s what I love about creating. You can never be sure how it will turn out in the end, maybe you’ll be proud of it, maybe you’ll wish you had never started it and be slightly embarrassed that it actually exists, but the journey, and the end result is why we do it. To be able to see that there is something where once there was nothing.

Clarification: In Fridays post I said the man had been on at me for years to watch the Twilight films and I apparently need to clarify that the only reason he said I should watch them is because he thought I would enjoy the story, not because he loves Twilight himself. He likes manly films like 300 with real men, lots of blood, gore and heavy weaponry. Sorry for any confusion or threats to masculinity caused.

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