I'm juggling several new creative projects at the moment, and I suspect they're all are going to challenge me in unexpected ways - mapping out structures and textures for a new work for violin and string quartet inspired by Muriel Spark's poetry; revising a solo piano score for a recording in July; and spending a week in August in the National Theatre of Scotland's Guest Room undertaking a creative development to begin writing a new interdisciplinary solo show.
In my mind these projects are full of promise and exciting visions of new creations. But to be honest I'm also pretty daunted by the reality of transitioning from an abstract idea to actually writing and creating a tangible series of works. It's made me look again at my thought processes around creativity: particularly to examine certain negative mental habits that seem to trip me up on a regular basis. Most often it's simply fear that holds me back from creating something; usually the fear of it not being 'good enough', whatever that means! I also have a tendency to focus on the things that might go wrong (rather than imagining the things that might go right). I believe it's essential to be able to critically assess my own work, but I know I can do this to excess.
Sometimes I delay starting something because I'd almost rather avoid creating it at all than risk the possibility of it being mediocre! But despite this hesitation there's an inner need to make things that eventually overcomes my reluctance. The process of musical composition in particular can be quite exhausting, but there's also an enormous satisfaction and pleasure in being fully immersed in a process that employs so many different mental muscles. I'm learning (slowly) to give new work and ideas space to breathe - to allow them to be imperfect, trusting that they will develop in their own time. And I'm resolved to remember that all I need to do is simply begin:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance..."
W.H. Murray (Scottish mountaineer and writer)