Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sometimes Progress is in Your Head

I realized why it's often hard to come up with posts to report on progress with creative projects. The main thing I've noticed is when I'm in "musing" mode, pondering possibilities and staring out the window and letting my mind wander over whatever I'm creating, it feels like I'm not doing anything. It seems like progress isn't happening.

But if I don't do that musing, I never figure out what the project is or what the next steps are. So, the past few days I've been musing. I've been trying out various approaches in my head to see which seem to lead to dead ends and which might actually work. I'm starting to want to write it down, which means I'm nearing the end of the current musing and ready to move on to brainstorming.

Musing, however, happens throughout the creative process. It's particularly useful when I'm writing. Doodling is the artistic equivalent, I think. When I'm designing a web site, I grab graph paper and doodle.

The other thing I've been musing on is whether to take a class that would be helpful for my project or take something for fun. I'm thinking I could do something that fits both modes, but I really, really want to take more drawing classes. I think that learning how to draw better would do two things. One, help me to develop a skill I've always wanted to have. Two, when I'm working on computer art or designing a layout for a flyer or web page, being unable to draw decently has really held me back. It would be much easier to learn some of the graphic software if I had a more solid ability to draw.

I know that taking a sketch book and practicing is one of the main things I need to do if I want to draw better. But my monovision creates a challenge that is much easier to overcome with the help of a good teacher. I never thought I could do anything with my interest in art until I took some classes with teachers who understood the challenge having no depth perception poses. I needed to learn how to "see".

And I got better. I was surprised when the class picked one of my drawings as one of the best in the bunch. I'll never be a great artist, but I don't care about that. I just want to be able to draw well enough to make what I want for projects I'm working on. So, I've pretty much decided to pursue drawing right now, assuming I get into the class.

As I move forward with this project, I'll have to work on developing other skills. Some of them I can learn on my own, using the information that's readily available via the internet, books and people in my life who already have the skills I'll need. Others will require more formal training. Mostly, I'll need to pare back some of my other activities so I can carve out time to practice, work on developing the project, and the ongoing work to keep the project going once it launches. It's possible to create it in a way that has an end point or to keep it open-ended and ongoing. I haven't decided which way I want to go, yet.

It's interesting that this post seems to indicate the project has to do with art. But it doesn't. It has to do with cooking, but I need art in order to create the images for the web site. I also need to learn some more advanced skills with photography, particularly with using light when photographing food, and how to style food so it looks appealing.

This is because I noticed that I don't stick around food blogs and web sites if the food looks awful, no matter how good the content is. I'd rather read about food without photos than be looking at food that's not appealing.

I also need to practice a different style of writing than I usually do. Writing will be a major part of this project, but not fiction writing. I think that's one of the main reasons it appeals to me. It uses a variety of the creative arts, plus the more creative aspects of my cooking skills.

So, even if I get impatient and want the project done now, I'm not going to give in to that impulse. I'm not ready to do more than create a reasonably doable, but entirely flexible plan of action, which is my next step.

It's not likely it will be done in a day. I don't want to post "today I worked on the plan" every day until I'm finished. So, I'm going to reserve my posts for whenever there's something worthwhile to report. The boring report about working on the plan today will be relegated to my calendar, just so I don't lose the momentum.