You know how in life, sometimes exactly what your looking for somehow always lands at your feet? Or in my case, in my hands. Well, I’ve been pondering the creative process lately (maybe a bit heavy for some) but, my world is visual and to be able to create the world I see in my mind can be challenging. I’ve been teaching myself new things and getting frustrated at the not so pleasant outcome (why does it take me 3x longer to get a good photo?) or simply questioning the process entirely. The thing is- all these feelings are normal, as long as I dust yourself off and keep moving forward. If I wasn’t out there on a daily basis discovering and pushing myself, I wouldn’t be growing creatively- plus it’s always amazing to look back on the progress you’ve made.
As Steve Jobs once said, “in the process is the magic,” and he got fired from the company he built! Just think about where our world would be if he decided to pack it in and stop exploring?
I rather not.
So, when I was calling out to the creative gods for some sort of sign; a Work in Progress by Rene Redzepi came across my hands. The below excerpt is from the foreword to the book by none other then Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich. It’s very long so I’m only going to share a portion but it was exactly what I was looking for to realize that most of the great creators in the world work really really hard at their craft. It’s also a gentle reminder to remember that it’s OK to not know but it’s not OK to stop moving. If you want growth, you have to be willing to be OK with being on the edge- to have that child-like curiosity for life.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
I love that word. I’ve had that word in the back of my mind for years. Waiting for the right time to use it. Waiting for the right project to attach it to.
I never imagined it would be used in a book about food. Now it has been. Then again, this is not a book just about food.
And I’ll use it again. Unafraid. There, I just used it for a second time. Wow, that looks good. Sounds good too. Such a powerful word.
In the past when I have been asked to contribute forewords or other thoughts in the written form as a way to fill up a page or two before the main event, it’s always been about a person or a body of work closely associated with a particular person. When René reached out to me to write this intro, he asked me to write about creativity. Not about food, not about Noma, not about René himself or any amalgam of the above. René wanted my ‘ruminations’ on the following question: what is creativity?
Like I said, I’ve been invited to partake in many creative shenanigans over the years, but never to write an essay about a single word. Being unafraid is a good start…
Creativity is as much about exploring what you don’t know as embracing what you do know. Having the courage to wander into your own ignorance, armed only with base knowledge, can be a powerful way to true creativity. When you truly go out there and create something, it’s as much a product of what you don’t know as a product of what you do.
I’ve been circling these sound bites for some time now. They all sound rather slogan-like. Actually, some, or most of those would make pretty cool bumper stickers.
Let’s dig deeper.”
You can buy Work in Progress here.
If you’re interested in learning more about Lars and Metallica their official website is here.