Over the past several weeks I've been working on a new project. It stemmed out of a long time interest of mine, which is sewing, but I had never given myself the permission to pursue learning "it" until a few months ago, when I enrolled in some introductory sewing classes at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). It's been an incredible learning experience, and a challenging one as well, trying to manage life, work, and coping with a wavering level of confidence in acquiring a new skill. The last one is probably the most trying of all -- managing confidence; learning to accept the hard work that is involved within the creative process, and understanding that it's filled with moments of hesitation.
I've begun to talk out loud when I work, especially when I encounter those moments in my process when I doubt the direction that I'm moving in; for some reason, my words when spoken aloud seems to untangle my senses, and lead me out of confusion. I'm learning as I go, and I'm paying attention to the steps that I'm taking, but more than anything, I'm allowing myself to fail, and finding the strength to recover as quickly as I can from the mistakes that I make. It can be exhausting - I've been working 12 to 14 hour days for weeks on end. Do I have a social life? No, not really. But it's something that I'm willing to compromise in the meantime in order to manifest my vision. It's a bit narcissistic sounding, I know, but it's not meant to be. I'm most happiest when I'm making things, and despite the uncertainty that comes with the process of not knowing, it's this risk, the chance that the next step I take could be the surprising creative resolve that I'm seeking. My former creative writing professor used an analogy of writing as compared to driving in darkness with high-beams to light the way; you can only see a few feet in front of you, but you know that as you continue on this road, it will lead you home. I keep those words close to me whenever I'm working on some creative project that gives rise to my fear and insecurity - it's a reminder to me that the creative process as convoluted and cloudy as it can be sometimes, can result in something wonderful if I stay on course, and navigate through the uncertainty.
* "Navigating Through Uncertainty," for SooJin Buzelli at Plansponsor Magazine Europe, Summer 2012.