After getting married a few weeks ago, we started renovations on our house. In order to get this renewal underway, we had to make room for the construction crew to start their work. In other words, we had to empty everything out of four rooms. It was a lot of work to even get things this far along. And in some respects it felt like the emptying was very unproductive. Obviously, feeling and reality don’t always match.
Creative projects often start this way. The painter needs an empty canvas. The musician needs silence. All artists need the raw materials including the blank backdrop on which to start to create. In order to start a new creative project, we need room.
Making room can take many different forms: if your mind is cluttered with noise and junk, it may be just as detrimental as not having an artistic blank slate. And even the form that slate takes is relative. I had one friend who created music by recording noises along the streets in the city where he lived. So his “silence” was anything but quiet.
— stan stewart (@muz4now) June 4, 2014
Even the empty room can be part of the backdrop for creating or not. On our construction project, once the crew tore away some of the old structure, they found parts of the flooring that were waterlogged and parts of the foundation that required reinforcement. This can often be part of the creative process, too. We may find ways to use what has worked for us in the past or we may have to strip things back to true creative emptiness.
The renovation is underway. Focusing on it has been a “distraction” from my creative projects. (Thus, the longer than usual silence on this blog.) And it has also called me back to the process that is required to begin to create.
What are your experiences with making room? Have you found useful techniques to clearing your internal or external studio space? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments!