I have the opportunity to lead many events across the nation. Its a unique niche and privilege I have been given. This week I am leading a new gathering in Atlanta called Plywood Presents: Making Ideas Happen. For years to come, we hope to brand this name Plywood Presents: and marry to it a series of topics that will further a developing community of social innovators and creative entrepreneurs addressing social needs. We are less than one week away, and at the same time, two feelings have overtaken me. It happens in every event that I have ever led: creative doubt and creative hope. I think every creative individual can relate with this dichotomy of anticipation.
At this point in the process, more than 90% of the event is usually planned and decided. Its a great feeling that you are in the home stretch of completing a project with a non-changing due date. On the other hand, I begin to doubt that 90% complete. Fear begins to take over my mind and I often get physically sick with negative anticipation. Worry sets in and negative questions emerge: What if people don’t like it? What if that creative idea is really just cheesy? What would I do if people just start leaving the event in the first session because it is just not good?
These questions start to bubble within me. This emotion I have recognized and named, creative doubt. Creative doubt is a negative feeling that overtakes an artist before a creation is revealed. What I have realized is that the tension that exists due to creative doubt has resulted in last minute decisions that make the creation better. At this point in my art form, I can make adjustments. There are usually a few things that my conscience is telling me that I need to change and often if I listen and make adjustments it makes the event a little better. These thoughts are healthy creative doubt. The challenge is to not be overtaken by the negative creative doubt. Throwing out everything that you have worked so hard on, is not the solution. Focusing your emotion and tactile changes that can make things better is the key.
The other emotion I experience is creative hope. Creative Hope is the dreamy emotion that overtakes an artist imagining the emerging creation when revealed, will change the world forever. This aspiration is why so many of us create. It is also the reason so many of us are disappointed and never create again. When we dream at levels that are so big, we will never be able to celebrate success. I have learned it is healthy to have the greatest aspirations for new projects in the creative process, but it may be even more healthy to set expectations of low response. There is no doubt with every new project that starts from scratch someone will be changed. Over years of being disappointed with responses, I am learning that even one response is worth celebration. The reality that this new creation now exists is worth celebrating. Our society may some day be changed because of the inception of this new creation, or it may not and that is ok. Creative hope is a healthy aspiration and creation mindset that all should pursue, with an understanding of how to celebrate.
I am in the last week of preparation for a new event and I feel both creative hope and doubt. Trust me, it creates highs and lows in my week. Just understanding and naming the emotion has given me a new poise to continue. Riding both spectrums keeps a healthy balance of creative thought. as we all create moving forward may we understand the positive and negative emotions that will ultimate influence others and future creations.