Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where's the interesting stuff?

A bit of a philosophical ramble now.
I am reading a book at the moment which is crystallizing some thoughts I have been having in the last couple of years.
This rant is as much for my own mental organizing as for anybody out there to read!

A false notion which I have believed for ever, consciously and/or subconsciously is that: Great ideas happen because they are great.
Or to be said another way, a brilliant concept must inevitably come to pass due to its high quality alone.

This, I have now decided is all bullshit. Crappy ideas are just as likely to see production.
It all has to do with the structure of their execution.

Why is this?

I have wondered why so many of my own great ideas are gathering dust on shelves in my workshop.
I supposed that ideas got shelved because they turned out to be not such good ideas or became irrelevant for some reason or another.

I now know these are not necessarily the reasons.

In recent years I have been amazed at the fruitfulness of some people. Those works being of varying quality in my eyes but nevertheless work that is completed.

Yet so much of my work lies abandoned.

What words would I use to define a great idea when I have it? Does the list include the words: new, stimulating, exciting.

The question I then asked is: In what way has the idea changed now? Or what is different about the idea now, as compared to when they were first conceived.
What about the idea is missing now, which initially created such energy?

I once put it down to the fact that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I am interested in high quality and workmanship in what I do. And I would always be procrastinating by getting a part or learning new a technique.

The truth is: Creative people get high on NEW ideas.

Ideas generate very positive feelings. It is a natural urge of any creative person to chase those feelings, even be addicted to them. When what we are doing is not getting us high we go back to doing the thing that gives us the buzz!
Thus, once an ideas is concieved and acted on to a greater or lesser extent, the excitment of the new concept fades, and we move on to the next great idea!

So what do we do about that, now that we know?

Cold turkey. Every project will have a comedown. You must expect it and realize what you are experiencing. The idea is still brilliant, it is just old and farmilliar. You must control your wandering eyes and be faithful to it.
This is a battle against your own nature. It is difficult.

Some people are lucky enough to be very self controlled. They can create their own motivation even after the initial high has worn off. For me, that's not the case.

One possible way is-
Impose EXTERNAL motivations which tick my obligation boxes.
Guilt tripping, nagging, promises, deadlines, these make me feel obliged to do things. Deep within myself there is an image of a person of good character which must be protected at all costs. Well there's a motivation.

So follow through is not in the nature of a creative person. So I must be aware that even though I may not be enjoying myself and what I'm doing is not giving me fantastic satisfaction, it may still be the right thing to be doing to get an idea to completion.

So it seems it is not the quality of the idea that is important, it is 'follow through' that is important. And the awareness of when I have reached that phase the idea's life.

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