“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol.
With anything there are a lot of options – you could choose to stay in bed for an extra ten minutes tomorrow morning, or get up ten minutes early and make a better breakfast. The artist has to choose not only the message and the medium, but also colors, brush or pen size, the direction and momentum of each stroke, the moment when a work is complete and when there is still much to be added.
Each choice impacts the final product, and it’s the same for any creator.
What matters most isn’t the choice that is made with each decision, it’s the fact that a choice was made at all. Nothing gets created, ideas do not flourish, the world stays the same, if decisions aren’t made. To be successful, you have to become a good decision maker. This is particularly true for creatives.
When you look at the work of any famous painter you’ll encounter layer upon layer of paint, a visible example of their attempt to get the lines or shades exactly right. The painting couldn’t be completed if the artist had instead fumbled around in their studio, waiting for the decisions on where to place a stroke or which colors to use or which direction to tilt the brush be made clear for them.
Rather than worry about the results of our creative decisions, we have to be decisive in order to see something be created. We can then adapt and improve our work as it progresses, like a painter adding a new layer to their work. What matters in creation (and in much of life) isn’t necessarily that we’re making the right strokes, it’s that we’re making them at all.
Thanks to Melanie Sklarz for sharing the quote that begins this post.