Monday, January 30, 2012

In due time.

If there’s one rule I’ve learned about creativity it’s this: everything in its own time.

That’s not to say that you can’t rush a thing out the door when a deadline is looming. Or that having more time will translate into a better final result.

It means that when an idea or a product or a thing is done, it’s done.

I have a friend who only writes one draft of a story. He’ll spend as long as he needs to in one sitting to get it done, but he never goes back to rewrite it. I can respect that. There’s something in going with your first instinct.

I have clients who want things from me “yesterday”, but they don’t realize the chain of events involved in bringing things to life. They only see the final product. And we make it look easy.

I have other friends who can’t wait for the next installment of Mr. Dog-Turd Hand. But every panel, every stink line takes time to draw. And sometimes the page just isn’t talking to me. So I wait—I take the time—until I’m ready to draw the next chapter.

The mythical Cyclopsicorn
Recognizing the process takes perspective and, thankfully, perspective can be had in several ways. The first is through separation. Giving yourself time away, like taking the advice to “look at it with fresh eyes in the morning”, is sometimes all a person needs to know whether a thing is completed. Another way is through experience. Doing a thing over and over again helps a person learn the nuances that can lead to shortcuts. And a third way is to just stop and listen. There’s a reason people say they “go with their gut” because it’s sometimes the best indicator of what a person knows before they actually understand it themselves.

Like this picture of this Cyclopsicorn. I set out to draw a unicorn, but a one-eyed unicorn just spoke to me. What can I say? The timing was right.