Step 5 of 5.
It sounds like the end.
But it’s not.
There is no end!
If we tend to our creative process consistently, we are abiding in our first three steps most of the time. It’s a river of possibility, intake and connecting ideas and we swim enthusiastically in the current if we simply remember to remain in the water …to “stay hydrated” in our creativity.
After the level of work rises in the 4th step of Evaluation, we are really still having fun all because we are merely testing. Ah, for the love of testing – the honeymoon of the “new idea” relationship! No “real thing” pressure yet, so there’s room to evaluate, scrap ideas, re-think and fine tune.
Inside the 5th step, Implementation is where the real work starts. The mix is a little scary but mostly invigorating, although those feelings can vie for first place all the way through. This is the “let’s do this” step. The “I hope this is as awesome in the end as it is in my head” step. The time to create has arrived and the energy is high.
Let’s pause for a moment and give homage to the significant fact that 80% of what we start in this Implementation step is not intended to be an end product. Whaaaaaaaaaat? The purpose of this work is to end up in a pile that looks like scrap to everyone else but we know as our “stepping stone” pile. This is the work that fine tunes us while we are on our way to creating the work that actually soars. This work is super significant to our growth process. Our commitment to our process [especially Implementation] keeps us working – toward and beyond where we are going… at the same time. The beyond part of that has a bi-product emotion that leaves us less impressed with our last favorite piece of work the further away from it we get. We want more and better than our last work. Something that soars not long after completion.
Let’s pause for one more important fact and think about a way to define a “successful creating artist.” If someone captured the photograph of a lifetime, to be remembered and referenced and taught by forever as a classic… and they printed it on every mug, greeting card and canvas and sold it for billions of dollars in profit, would that make them a successful creating artist? Probably more specifically defined as a successful business person. [Kudos, by the way. No artist I know would turn down that business success.] Back to the definition of a “successful creating artist.” – Artists. Create. Artwork. If they create the same artwork over and over again, without evolution, they are no longer creating but producing. So the definition could read “ A successful creating artist is an artist who is consistently creating a growing body of work.”
Now, let’s continue with what Implementation looks and feels like.
Implementation is when our magic appears and the struggle begins. Our end work doesn’t usually end up exactly as we plan coming into this step, regardless of how much we tested. It morphs, bobs and weaves, pauses, cuts things out, steps back and scratches its head and maybe even turns a little to the left. A great idea has self-expanding qualities. It is in this expanding that our end artwork grows.
Implementation shouldn’t be rushed, if at all possible. Fruition deadlines should be set a safe distance away and be fluid even there. Patience and nestling into the process should be companion goals right next to your drive to create. Celebrate small breakthroughs and find your pace for the non-race. Rushing doesn’t usually work for the long run success of a creating artist although there are some, myself included, who sometimes feed on the adrenaline rush of a pressing deadline.
Implementation gets messy. It’s sweat, hard work, failure, more hard work, hair pulling, confusion, dread, fear, pauses… and repeat. And then – there is an end product that is either a stepping stone… or that work that currently soars.
Implementation is the creating part of the creative process and you are the one who chooses the pace of your evolving body of work by how much time you spend in this step alone. It’s paramount. It’s the work part that is foundational to success.
Create on, Artists!