This week I’ve been developing my ideas for the new project I’ve recently started working on and have been called once more to face an array of unknowns.
I know this space of creative uncertainty with a familiarity that comes from my commitment to living consciously with creativity at the core of who I am and what I do.
The Depths of Discomfort
However that doesn’t mean I’m able to avoid the depths of discomfort relating to the “not knowing” that’s an integral part of the creative process.
I love the fact that my conscious approach leads me over the edge of what I “know” to discover fresh insights and ideas.
Yet it’s genuinely tough to translate the essence I so often realize intuitively into forms which retain the integrity of the message and can be readily communicated, shared and enjoyed by others.
Half Finished Projects
That’s why so many people talk about wanting to write a book or develop their ideas for a personal or professional project but don’t see it through to completion.
How many people do you know who have half finished projects scattered everywhere?
Perhaps you’re one of them?
If so, I completely understand!
It’s incredibly tempting to walk away when the commitment required to stay the course becomes intense – which it often does.
And yet facing this discomfort fearlessly is the hallmark of artistic courage, innovation and progress, and the rewards that come from creative tenacity are hard to ignore.
Seeing something appear from nothing, gradually take shape, and finally come to completion in a form that accurately reflects the original inspiration – or an expanded version of it – is deeply fulfilling.
Add to that the transformation of who you become from having navigated the challenges, and the potential your creation has for making a real and lasting difference to others, and the rationale for resolve is compelling.
5 Ways to Lean In
So when the going gets tough and the discomfort of creative uncertainty bites, lean in through applying the following suggestions and see which ones work best for you:
- Reconnect with the Big Picture
Remind yourself why you’re engaging in whatever form of creative expression you’ve chosen and make sure that it reflects what’s truly important for you, something you care deeply about.
This will shift your perspective to “big picture” mode so that you can view your current feelings in the light of your underlying motivation and draw strength from that to take your next steps.
- Create Space for Immersion
If you’re constantly watching the clock, especially when you’re in the early stages of creation, it’s much harder to manage the intangibles with the added pressure of limited time.
Of course progress can be made when you’re working in short stints; yet even a few longer sessions to immerse yourself fully and explore the unknowns freely will make a positive difference.
- Stay Open and Soft
Avoid grasping for solutions and remain open and soft to receive the clarity you seek rather than making your ideas fit some intellectual concept of what you think your project should be.
It’s tempting to “push the river” to escape the uncertainty but that approach is unlikely to deliver up the depth and detail your creation requires to stand the test of time.
- Reframe the Discomfort
Rather than resisting the discomfort of creative uncertainty, I recommend accepting it fully as part of the process because this will shift you into a different state of being.
Reframe what you’re feeling as the expansion of stretching into brand new territory and trust you’ll discover just what you need as long as you remain conscious, present and aligned.
- Feel Your Way In
Instead of trying to work everything out with your mind, draw on your innate capacity to feel your way in to the space of not knowing.
Of course the space isn’t actually empty even though it may feel that way initially.
The reality is that the unknown is filled with unlimited potential that has yet to manifest in tangible form.
Your role is to draw that forth in order to create what your intention is to create in that particular moment of time.
How do you deal with the discomfort of creative uncertainty with your writing and other creative projects? Please share your comments and experience below or ask a question which I’ll be happy to answer. Thank you!
If you haven’t seen it already, you may also enjoy my recent post on “Living the Questions” inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s well-known quote from his book Letters to a Young Poet. To read it, click here.