the other side of the ugly (18/52)

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Yesterday I was sharing about the ugly side of creativity. When it’s in that worse before it gets better zone.

The only way outa here is forward: Charge on forward through this zone.

If you can’t carry on right now, let it rest.Let it settle.

When you come back it’s going to look different:
—If it looks better – let this spur you on in hope.
—If it looks worse – take the nothing left to lose impetus to make changes:

Whatever you’re creating, from a painting to a song, a novel or a dance, a dress or a manifesto, try any variations of these things:

  • Paint over it.
  • Mix up the harmonies.
  • Cut it up and reconfigure the bits together in a new shape.
  • Record over sections of it.
  • Photograph it from obtuse angles: review it through the viewfinder, on screen, through squinting eyes, or print its negative.
  • Speed it up, slow it down, add trumpets.
  • Change two of the colours.
  • Stitch, glue, staple, splice. Rinse and repeat.
  • Play it backwards / turn it upside down / inside out.
  • Take out every other word, or every other adjective, or swap about all the words beginning with vowels.
  • Pick it up by the ears and shake it hard.

Do some radical dismantling, recreate with hope and a conscious understanding it’s only wrong at the moment; it’s maybe uncomfortable but it isn’t doomed.


Know that you’re through the worst because if you’re moving you’re making progress: It was the ugliest thing in existence, so by logical deduction it must be getting better, right?

Right. Then keep on going. If the bigger picture is freaking you out,


Just look at the detail…


Find some solace there, some shhhhhsome calm


Befriend the details. Examine them closely for inexplicable creatures.


The only thing not to do is sit and dwell on how a different course of action somewhere in the past would have made it different. That then is gone. Focus on the now of it.


Then see where you find yourself, recombobulate, know the process works, and carry on.

5 thoughts on “the other side of the ugly (18/52)

  1. …add trumpets.
    Pick it up by the ears and shake it hard.
    (heehee)…I think this would make a perfect art room manifesto. Although I do keep getting a rather unfortunate pic. in my head of a sad-looking rabbit wondering why he’s being tormented….


  2. dont forget: turn it upsidedown, look at it while you eat breakfast and read the funnies, when in doubt add bright orange or hot pink (must be all that time i spent on the old Pacific Southwest airways, where the “sky goddessess” wore hot pant outfits in that color with white boots…)


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