Hey Beer Farmers,
Hope you are well out in the world. This week we have a couple of guest blogs on our plate. This one comes to us from Heather Yeo, Blackout Theatre, Company Member. Happy Birthday, Heather! And, enjoy – y’all! Cheers.
Everyone- anyone- can create art. Everyone has a story to tell, a message to send, a thought to express. But ability and execution can sometimes seem miles, if not galaxies, apart. Maybe you’ve had the experience of seeing a movie or a painting and thinking to yourself: “What’s so great about that? I could do that better.” So you march over to your desk, pull out a piece of paper and….nothing. Suddenly every idea you’ve ever had goes out of your brain. The blank paper stretches on and on forever. You write your name on the top. Then the date. There, that’s something. Progress! You’re making progress! Ugh, but now it looks like a sixth grade writing assignment. And now you’re having middle school flashbacks. You crumple up the paper and stare glumly at the wall. This is the hardest part. The staring at the blank page. The getting started. So Blackout would love to offer some tips and strategies for getting your ideas flowing and getting those projects off the ground.
Search out inspiration NOT in the medium you’re trying to create- It’s hard to start writing a movie when all you can think about is The Godfather. Or to create a painting staring at a room full of Degas. Maybe you like the pressure, but for many, that’s pretty intimidating. In Blackout, we often start creating by compiling images and songs that inspire us. Don’t think too much about why you like the things you pick out. Just make a big ol’ collage of everything you’re finding interesting. Lay out all our sources over that blank piece of paper and see what you see. Any patterns? Any themes? Move things around, listen to songs in a different order. Take things out, add things in. We often find that this gets you out of the “staring at a blank page, contemplating all possibilities” and into the realm of you know, actually doing things. Activity can be a great way to bust up that artistic blockage.
Don’t worry about the details yet. Get some broad strokes down to help define what your project is, and perhaps more importantly, is not.
Tell the People
Explain your idea to someone. Seek out someone who hasn’t been a part of your brainstorming process. Explain what you’re up to, in as much detail as you’re able to give. Not only will this force you to articulate what parts of your project are most interesting or clear to you, but their reaction will be illuminating as well. Maybe they have questions about how it all makes sense, or why it’s interesting or important. Whether or not you agree with what they have to say, their questions will force you to fill in gaps you may or may not have seen.
Pull out the Calendars
Give yourself a deadline. Maybe you’re one of those miraculous people who works hard without a deadline because you’re very self disciplined. If you’re this kind of person, you probably also eat raw vegetables instead of pizza and have a bite of watermelon as a treat. If this is you- we envy you deeply. Please tell us how to be more like you. For the rest of us, set deadlines and keep people informed of them. This will help you to be accountable and force you to take action, rather than just thinking and getting paralyzed by your own thoughts. Be realistic in what you can accomplish, but be ambitious too. Use deadlines to propel your process forward.
Show the People
Share your work. It’s easy to end up with trash cans full of discarded projects, and left alone you might believe everything you start is no good. Showing other people what you’re up to not only gives you a chance to receive feedback, but it validates the fact that you’ve done something! You’ve created!
Don’t Be Afraid to Kill Your Babies.
Hope I got your attention there because this one is important. Look, not all your ideas are going to be winners. Even ones that you really really liked could wind up being stinkos. Be honest with yourself; let go of those ideas that aren’t serving you. Coco Chanel said that prior to leaving the house, you should review your outfit and remove one accessory. Same rule here. All your ideas are precious and beautiful just like I’m sure Coco’s bracelets were. But all together, they might be a hot mess. Whittle it down to only what you NEED. Those discarded ideas can become fodder for your next project.
Because You’re Worth It
Perhaps most importantly, remember that you have value. Your ideas and your artistic expressions are valuable. If what you’re working on is important to you, if it’s something you’re passionate about, people will respond. It’s scary to make something new. Trust yourself. You have value, your story deserves to be told.
There! That’s it. Except of course not, not really. There’s so many different ways to start creating. You’ll figure out what works for you by doing. You’ll probably fail some too and that’s ok. We’re excited to see what you come up with.
Hearts and Stars,