Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a backstage tour of our local repertory theatre. It’s something I have always wanted to do. To see the costume workroom, the dressing rooms, the space where the stage sets are created, and the green room was a thrill for this theatre lover! Then a few days later while watching the Academy Awards, I again thought of all the work that goes on behind the scenes. 

Isn’t this similar to what goes on in the creative process? It’s fun to think a theatre production or a glamorous show is magic. You might be in awe of a new book, a painting or a piece of art. Yet, let’s look at all that goes on behind the curtain.


    Can you imagine creating a play or writing a book without some sort of planning? Even writing a short article requires forethought. Sometimes within the process of creating, you may be fortunate enough to move to a state of what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow,” when ideas come without effort. However, most of the time, a considerable amount of planning is required. Envisioning the finished product or performance, having the requisite tools and equipment are only part of the planning and preparation process.

    When actress Natalie Portman was interviewed about her role in the film “Black Swan” she talked about the months of work it took her to learn to perform her ballet scenes, even while learning from world class dancers. Can you imagine her winning an Oscar without having put in that time? Can you imagine a well-written book being created on one Saturday afternoon? What you don’t see is the hours upon hours required behind the scenes to produce work of value.

    Remember when you learned to ride a bicycle? First it seemed as if you would never be able to learn the necessary balance. Then, undoubtedly you fell off over and over. But eventually, the training wheels came off and you were able to ride. Actors repeat scenes over and over in rehearsal. Musicians play a piece of music time and time again. Writers write drafts and more drafts. What looks easy when finished, required much repetitive practice and rehearsal.

    Along with hours and hours of planning, practice and rehearsal, creating art often requires much attention to detail. Dress rehearsals correct small changes, editors pick up errors, artists remove and change colors, shapes and sizes. It is this attention to detail that makes your art or writing outstanding.

    In spite of planning, practice and attention to detail, the unexpected will happen. A guitar string will break, a computer with your completed chapter will crash, or you will stub your toe or hurt your hand. The fabric you want will be out of stock, your drawing will get stained or your printing project will be delayed. Last minute changes and surprises are a part of creating.

    The next time you marvel at a polished performance or stare in awe at a piece of art or wipe tears away after reading a touching story, remember the planning, hours, practice, attention to detail and surprises that undoubtedly accompanied this creation. Remember too, that these steps are required in any creative process that is worth doing. You may not win at Oscar or award for what you create, but you will nonetheless, be a winner!

Take good care,

If you could use some help with a creative project, schedule a GRATIS SAMPLE COACHING SESSION via phone or in person to find out if writing & creativity coaching is for you.

Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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