Creative rejects

I spent a good chunk of yesterday writing an article, and have now decided it’s unusable hogwash.  Don’t know what got into me, but those hours working on it were some kind of detour I took and now, having returned to the main road, I am rejecting the findings of that little side trip.

I’m not stressing over this.  It’s quite in the usual run of the creative life.  Though tuned in to manifesting something new, creativity very often leads to products that are useless.  As a drawing teacher once said, you only see the master works of the great artists, you don’t see the mountains of their practice pieces and rejected early attempts.

For that matter, becoming accustomed to making mistakes is an important part of creativity.  You have to learn that it’s perfectly ok to throw things away.  The tendency is to view created works as precious.  Parents are always hoarding every little scribble their child creates.  Much more to the point would be to teach children to earnestly practice the process, but not to be attached to the outcome.

Following this line of thought, you can see that the product of your creative effort is mostly a fringe benefit.  The reason you practice creativity is for the many blessings conferred by that practice in itself; it really has little to do with the tangible products that remain when practice subsides.

While in business such non-productive effort may seem wasteful, it’s not possible to cultivate creative thinking without a good deal of apparently useless by-product.  Business owners/managers do well to set up systems that allow for creative waste, knowing that the larger benefit of a highly creative workforce much more than compensates for false starts and misguided forays.


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