I’ve been working through The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp with an amazing group of creative folks. We meet up once a week to discuss thoughts and discoveries around each section of the book. So far, I’ve been challenged to think more intentionally and clearly about my own creative process, and have deeply benefited from hearing the group respond to Tharp’s ideas.
Today, I was thinking about process vs. result in terms of creative projects. I love the process of creating something. I love the challenge of it, the problem solving that’s involved, the need for collaboration (in any medium – right now, I’m depending on my advance readers). I love the feeling of taking some vague idea or feeling in myself and watching it play out on paper or onstage.
Once a project is completed, however, I feel detached from it. And maybe this is because detaching myself protects me from criticism, or gives me a distant vantage so I can improve on the next project – but the group made me think about what a result actually is. Is it the last performance, the final draft? Is the result the product or people’s reaction to the work?
And thinking about it that way, I suppose I do love the result in that I love hearing people respond, even if it’s negative. I want to do well as an artist, but I also know that what I make has flaws, and that certain themes or genres may not appeal to everyone. It’s fascinating to hear the particular parts that resonate with each reader.
Which makes me wonder if maybe the creative life of a project is all process, just different points along the way.
What do you think about the relationship between creative process and result? Is there one stage of a project that you enjoy the most?