Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Premature editing can stop a seed of vision or project before it even begins.

There are times when your creative voice may feel overwhelmed by another voice, and if you’re anything like me, possibly several voices. Lets call them “Inner Editors.”

There are three in particular that I feel are important to recognize when you are creating:

1. The Stop-Before-You-Start Editor
2. The Obsessed Editor
3. The Real Editor

The Stop-Before-You-Start Editor

This Editor loves the younger generation and those who feel like everything worth doing has already been done. They say, “Who wants to look at my ideas when there are so many good ones out there already?”

This Editor starts yapping at your first thought of a great idea, telling you all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t continue to build on that idea, and before you know it, the idea is dead, never making it out of your head and into reality. It simply never had a chance.

A few thoughts about getting past the Stop-Before-You-Start Editor:

When you have an idea or project you want to create, you must first extract the tonal quality of that idea by allowing it to flow out onto paper or some other physical medium; do this right away, before this Editor snips it out of your creative conscious by convincing you that your idea is too small, too grand, too raw to be conceived.

Ideas may appear as feelings, colors, themes, smells, characters, words, a look, or a landscape; they do not necessarily have a story attached to them right away, nor do they need to in order to become the beginning of something.

Some examples of how it looks to be free from this inner Editor:

The filmmaker talking a hundred miles and hour about something so magnificent you cannot possibly comprehend, but it’s there in those little stick people and arrows she is so passionately putting on her cocktail napkin.

The sculptor looking lovingly and with a blush of excitement at a lump of ugly gray clay that he has pulled and stretched into some sort of strange raw amoeba pose.

Here is one we can all relate to; and if you cannot relate, consider trying it:

The one-year-old sitting in her high chair with a devilish grin, one hand full of spaghetti. Instead of putting it in her mouth, she throws it against the wall just to see what happens, and with unrestrained delight she watches it stick to the wall before it begins dangling and crawling down on its own.

These ideas begged to come to life, and so they did: on cocktail napkins and grandma’s wall!

Why deny yourself that moment, even if never gets past that initial excitement?

The Obsessed Editor

This little guy with a magnifying glass and dictionary at his side obsesses over a very small portion of an idea or project before it has a foundation, form, or presence of its own.

Think about this:

A filmmaker would not start filming or developing the stick people on the napkin before he had a story outline or script to work off of (well, maybe if you were Terry Gilliam).

The sculptor would not try to create a perfect arm to go on a body he had not yet formed.

An architect would not spend all his time on the details of one window before coming up with an overall vision and purpose for his building.

A chef would not agonize over the spices he will use before deciding on the menu.

Some thoughts and ideas to help shoo away the little bug-eyed Obsessive Editor:

Develop an outline, and if that’s not your style, let yourself complete a first draft. Look toward the next horizon. The point is to use the clarity and truth of your overall vision to engage with what you are creating.

If you’re a writer, let yourself write whatever comes, even if you know that some of the words are wrong. If you’re a visual artist, try different colors, wrong colors, right colors; a musician? allow all sounds, no sound, and even annoying sound. And if you’re writing a screenplay, let your settings make sense or no sense at all.

There is no right or wrong in a first draft or first form of vision. When you come up with wonderful details, put them in loosely, but don’t obsess over making them work just yet.

I am not saying to purposely create crappy prose or poetry, only to allow the ideas to flow without trying to turn crappy into beautiful, for out of these moments of freedom may come brilliance and the perfect set of elements to build from.

You will still have detailed ideas, thoughts, and visions; in fact, you will have many more as you move forward without the Obsessive Editor trying to control the details.

The Real Editor

When your idea has a heartbeat of its own, when it breathes and stands on its own and you can see it walking toward you without your assistance, then YOU get to be the Editor, the REAL editor.

This is my favorite place to hang out—where time ceases to exist.

We sand, polish, highlight, shadow, sprinkle hues; find the perfect word, nuance, spice, music, setting, ambiance, color and flow. We get to revel in the spectacular last few touches put here and there.

It is like being in heaven when you get to this point.

And finally here is one more who is nothing like the Editors and is better expressed as a Special Blessing upon your creation:

Before you give your work to the rest of the world, consider sharing it with a mentor, someone who knows your voice and medium of art, someone you trust, someone to help you snip off the threads that hang from this living, breathing masterpiece and give it that final push past the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Making of a Masterpiece

Requires (quicktime) to play.

Happy Creating!


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