Love ‘em. Hate ‘em.
I love them because they are so full of possibility.
I hate them because all those potentially great ideas can be overwhelming. That overwhelm leads to fear. Fear leads to procrastination. Procrastination leads to resistance. It becomes harder and harder to sit down to do the one thing I love – create.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Last year I read Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” and it completely changed how I went about starting projects.
When the book arrived at my house I let it fall open – “Scratching” is the chapter it landed on.
One of the main take aways from the chapter is that “when you’re struggling for a big idea – you’re much better off scratching for a small one…”
Scratchings are the activities you undertake to help you get started on a project. It’s not a finished piece. It’s not even a big idea – it’s just the small little ideas that you gather together to make a bigger whole.
Scratchings don’t need to be good – they just need to be – after all at this stage no one is watching. It’s the perfect time to experiment and explore, to make mistakes and gain experience.
Now the blank page doesn’t phase me. I don’t try to have big ideas to start out with – small ideas will do. Small marks that build up over time to create a collection of artworks that matter.