I feel all creative people share in the same common problem, what are we supposed to do with the plethora of good ideas? How do we know which ones are good ideas, true to our essence, and which ones are just improvements on someone else’s idea? What sort of filters can we create in our minds to collect the good ideas? Filters are necessary to creation. Without them we will send ourselves in a million different directions without a focus. Progress means heading in one direction and that’s what I have been determined to figure out for myself.
The basic filter I have towards creating is following my inspired actions. Good ideas come all day for me, but what am I actually inspired to take action towards. I have a list of things I would like to create, but when I look at that list, I can only do the things that stand out to me and inspire me to create. This blog is an example of that. I was ruminating over these filters this morning, without any sort of understanding (because I need to write to understand) so when I sat down at my computer and asked myself what I’ll write, this was the blog I was inspired to create. I have other ideas that are good, but this is the only idea that is true to me at this moment. This is the only one where I emotionally connect to the essence of what it is to communicate.
Here are some filters I like to use when sifting through good ideas and true ideas.
- What is the emotional cost of creating it?
- Everything we create has an emotional price tag. All my paintings are inspired by deep overwhelming emotions. Sometimes I’ll be completely overwhelmed by a feeling, like confidence or sadness. That’s when I can begin to paint and I can create something decent. Today when I sat down without inspiration, I did not make a painting I was proud of. Most paintings I’ve loved were created in feverish passion. As if nothing could satisfy me at that moment but putting paint on paper. There is an equal exchange in the excited passion to create it and the pay off when it is finished. Not monetary pay back, but emotional satisfaction and fulfillment. I have not sold these paintings but every time I look at them I smile and am proud of myself for following through with the inspiration.
- Is it true to the essence of who you are?
- I will never write stories of low income, crime ridden neighborhoods because I have never lived it. This is a very easy filter to impose upon ourselves as artists. Have I experienced the situation I am attempting to recreate? Do I have an emotional connection to this idea? Even those with sheltered childhoods have experiences with confinement to draw upon. This will narrow the scope of creating drastically. Write what we know. That is called focus. So how does a writer or artist begin to expand their topics of work?Experience more. Leave your house, explore, meet people, read, learn, listen to others experiences. That seems easy enough to me and yet how often does an idea of something float into my head that is conceptually creative yet completely untrue to the essence of my artistry. Too often, so I must stay focused on myself and what I know.
- Am I motivated by love?
- If you don’t love what you are doing why are you doing it? I believe the art I create comes from a well inside me filled with emotions. Anytime I am in emotionally negative situations, surrounded by complaining miserable people, doing something that I really hate, or am doing something motivated by desperation or fear, I poison my well. I need clean water to live. I need clean emotions to create. If an idea comes, a simple filter is Do I love this idea? Perfect example, is a new blog idea I had that seemed like a really good idea to try. It seemed easy to manage, it seemed easy to market and it was true to who I was as a person. However, I didn’t love the idea. I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t have the emotions behind it to carry it through to possibly generate any income (another reason why I consider it a good idea but not a true idea)
- What would happen if I didn’t create it? (Aka powered by fear)
- I know you have heard it before, if it scares you, you are probably meant to do it. That’s only half true but there is something valid behind it. I think of it this way, if I were to let this idea slip away and not create this piece of art, how would I feel? If it seems as if I’ll regret not making it (a couple novel ideas I have on my back burner until I finish my current piece of work) I must create it. I am now powered by the fear of not doing it. I am powered by the fear of the idea being picked up by someone else. I must hold on to it and create it. This to me is being powered by fear. In simple terms, FOMO.
- Is it an original thought?
- This hits on something important to me when creating anything, if it wasn’t your original idea it’s not worth creating. If I watch the movie Training Day and think it could be rewritten so much better with two female cops, its not my original idea. If a creative friend tells me their idea and expects me to create it, its not my original idea and not worth investing the emotional labor into it. If it didn’t come to me smack out of the blue its probably not worth creating. Anything inspired by something else is a copy, a replica, non-original. Ideas had in the quiet stillness of life are ours to create and invest ourselves into. Don’t take another persons idea and recreate it. That being said, sometimes we have friends/support system who understand our vision of what we are attempting to create and they offer ideas that go with our flow that can benefit us. But these are trusted sources, people who understand us emotionally, and typically easy to discard if it doesn’t work with who we are.
Creative people should avoid putting themselves into boxes at all costs. There is no “I cannot” in creating, however filters create concentrated focus. Most creative people are not in lack of good ideas, they are normally in lack of true ones. This is when the filters become helpful. I am in a time in my life where I am only pursuing creation. If I want to do something with myself and it is not based out of creating something I will not do it. I am determined to generate income off of my creations only. Working for corporate America is for people who don’t believe in themselves and their ability to generate their own income. I am capable, I am willing, I have focus and that’s what I’ve got right now. We will see if its enough to carry me and mine through.
Whatever the case
Do something creative
Because you love it
and because you can’t not create it.
That is a true idea.