Or, The Beauty Of A Blank Slate.
Imagine if you started all over again with your art, and your creative career.
Imagine you destroyed everything you’d ever created, your entire body of work, every last shred of your creative legacy so there was absolutely nothing left.
Would that be utterly terrifying or incredibly liberating?
There’s much to gain from beginning again with a blank slate, and it doesn’t hold all the fears you think it might.
If I could use a personal example to explain.
The last year or so I’ve been simplifying my life, shedding the things I no longer need. I decided part of the physical side of this shedding would include the 500+ collection of CDs I’d collected over the years, and to instead convert the music to a more portable digital form.
So I did, and the 5000+ tracks from over 250 artists amounted to something like 40GB of music. I could listen for 14 days solid without hearing the same track twice!
Then I got a new iPod, with a capacity of four times this: 160GB.
So, with all that free space, did I immediately pour my entire music collection of the last couple of decades straight on to the new player, so I had every possibly track I could ever want at my fingertips, merely a scroll and a click away?
Instead I’m enjoying the white space of my iPod’s memory, and it currently has only about 100 tracks, from a grand total of, um, six artists.
It’s very liberating having so little to choose from.
And it means each artist, each album, and each track is getting plenty of intimate and attentive listening.
But here’s how I’m going to approach this:
When I have a song appear in my head more than a couple of times, playing over and over, insisting: “Please please remember me, remember how gorgeous I am, how much you adore me, how I make you dance around the room like two year old after too many packs of Haribo Starmix!”, only THEN will I seek out that song on my laptop and add it to the iPod to listen to.
If it’s from a REALLY great album, I’ll probably add the rest of it too.
And this is how my new music collection will evolve. The music that is most important to me, the music that is deeply embedded in my memory, the music I heard, and simply can’t ever ignore or forget, that’s the music that will eventually make its way back to me to be enjoyed all over again.
So, how does this relate to beginning with a blank slate and helping you find the art within you that cannot be ignored?
It’s exactly the same principle.
You could clear your creative workspace, your studio and your mind from everything you ever created – including all those abandoned works in progress, and including all those projects you only began because you thought they were what you should be creating, and what others would approve of you creating.
That’d be a wonderful start.
But then if you chucked the whole lot straight back into your workspace, your studio, your mind, you’d be no better off than before. In fact you might feel worse, and a little like I felt when I started converting my CDs, wondering how and why I had all this music sitting there that I never listened to anymore.
Instead, trust in the knowledge that the most important ideas within you, and the most important art within you, will ALWAYS come back.
You can’t escape them.
They might have been cast out in the wilderness, but they were smart enough, and vital enough to you, to leave a breadcrumb trail back to you, a pathway home.
And why would you want to escape them anyway?
These are the ideas and the artworks that can, and will, bring you some of the most wonderful, life changing, uplifting, liberating and exciting times of your entire life. If you let them.
Give it some careful thought.
A blank slate might be just the approach you need to cut through the chaos and clutter of all those works in progress and create the space you need to bring to life the most important, most powerful, most incredible ideas you’ll ever have.
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