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The Creative Process

posted Oct 2, 2016, 10:22 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Nov 10, 2016, 10:31 AM ]

As I try to make something of writing and a writer’s room that is actually nothing but an idea right now, it feels like I am a big, gray hunk of clay that someone just threw onto the middle of a potter’s wheel. There is the initial spark of exciting possibility. There is the adrenaline of starting something new. It could be amazing and not like anything anybody has ever seen, at least in these-here parts. Then settles all around—the burden—the actual working of the clay. The part where the wheel starts to spin and the potter has to awkwardly force the whole mass to the middle. It is clunky and difficult but familiar. And then the clay is in the middle—spinning—and so hands surround it and help shape it to a more symmetrical dome-shaped lump and press every little bit of air out of it so that after the work of painstaking formation and artistic ornamentation it does not simply explode in the kiln.

And so, the pressing out of every bubble feels good as it is a rather expected part of the process—a necessary exercise. And then, there sits and stares the potter. The lump is smooth and solid—spinning and waiting. Now comes the hard part—the part where the necessary steps that any potter would be required to take have been taken—and the differences in style and perspective will now become apparent for good or for bad in the eye of the beholder. You need to create. 

Whatever you create will be on display as you take the leap to the moment when you present your work and then wait. You watch as either all the faces fall and turn away disappointed or all the faces sparkle and close in around you in order to see better—to become part of the moment.

I am so afraid of what I will create and thereafter what I will see on the faces that surround me.

But not creating—not trying—well, it is decidedly certain that I fear that even more.