Pure Creation is Hard

Posted on Mar 27, 2012

As a sometimes writer, sometimes artist, sometimes programmer I have noticed an alarming trend. People are afraid of creation. Not the bible thumping kind of creation but the actually putting your ideas out there to be looked at by other people. That kind of creation scares the shit out of most of us. I have been there, I understand. It is scary to create something show it to other people and not know what they are going to say, do, feel or what ever.

In Art school you are given a project or theme or a couple of words and expected to create something that fits within that idea. The first time you do it it is really hard. You spend more time worrying about what people are going to say then about creating your best work. That first project is usually really rough and while it fits the bare bones of the project it doesn’t step outside any comfort zones for anyone.

In writing it is the same way. I am not the best writer I know nor am I the worst. I haven’t taken very many classes on writing and have learned most of it by doing. For about 6 months(i think) I wrote a blog post every day. I would sit down and write write write until I was satisfied with the post and then I would type it up and post it. I filled up a moleskin. I was so cool.

Then I stopped writing. Time got in the way. I had other things going on. I couldn’t justify “wasting” time writing.

The same thing has happened with my drawing. I haven’t taken the time to seriously draw in a couple months. I still sketch all the time but I don’t sit down to consciously create things. I think about doing it but it is always easier to play video games or cruise the internet or whatever instead of taking the time to create. Part of this is because I, like everyone, fear failure. I don’t want to put my heart and soul into something and have it not be this amazing thing. That would suck.

I got thinking about all of this because I was thinking about how programers are lucky. They are creating something, just as an artist or author does; they just have a very supportive community. I am super new to the game but GitHub and StackExchange have been super helpful. Plus there are a ton of free resources to learn programming. Part of this is that programers seem to be comfortable sharing there ideas with each other (at least in the Open Source movement) and the other part is that the internet has allowed for worldwide collaboration without struggle.

Writers have writing groups that get together and discuss their current work but it is without collaborration. It is more of a “my character is doing X” “cool my character is doing Y”. (I am totally guessing that is what it is like as I have never been to a writing group). They have a great team but they are all working on very seperate problems. In programming someone can say “I was looking at your code and you forgot a semi-colon” When you add that semi-colon suddenly your shit works. I don’t imagine a lot of writers having there clunky manuscript solved by one thing needing to be changed.

Artists suffer even more. While collaboration happens more in visual arts it isn’t as common as it should be. Artists are excited about there method/process/idea/whatever more then anything else and “help” from other artists tends to be in the vain of “I would do it this way”. Not in a “Have you tried this.” Also artists tend to hold their secrets tightly and never let go. I think part of this stems from artists need for creative validation as well as the drive to be different.

What the artistic community needs is a GitHub. Especially as more art moves digital. A place where an artist can say “I was playing around with paint thinner and water colors on different surfaces and this is what happend.” and other artists can take that info and use it to further their own projects while giving credit to other artists. This sort of crazy collaboration would add a whole different speed to artistic development. Instead of thousands of people doing the same experiment with paints or clay or photoshop, they could build their experiment off of others.

If this sort of thing already exists I don’t know about it. Please let me know. Otherwise… lets get started.