There is a certain curve that all creatives must go through when they decide to start a new project. It’s otherwise known a U curve, or a “painting curve” as it’s called by Lisa Congdon in Art, Inc. I like to call it the “Creative Curve” because it happens to artists and creators of all kinds.
When you begin a painting (or any creative endeavor), you find yourself at the top left of the curve, with an idea in your head that you can see clearly. At least you think you can. As you begin to execute your project you slide down to the bottom of the U as you realize that what you saw in your head, or your mind’s eye isn’t exactly what is manifesting in front of you. Often times, far from it.
The only way to get to the top of the U curve, this time to the right side, is to realize as the project is finished that it can look and feel wonderful. You see that it is still a unique expression of your own voice.
In a recent mandala class, one of the participants explained that she often felt this bottom of the curve frustration, although she didn’t quite know how to explain it. She admitted that as she finishes a project she is often able to overcome that frustration and see a beautiful result, even if it’s not what she pictured in her mind at the outset.
What the U teaches us is that pushing through the frustration that is inevitable in almost any project is worth it in the end. Even if we decide to file a project away for a while (or stay at the bottom of the U with it) we just might find that fresh eyes and a new start push us to the top of that particular project in a way we never expected.
Can you recall feeling this frustration with a creative endeavor? It’s just not coming out like you envisioned it?
How do you push through?