Creative Chaos

Sunlit Tree in Fall | Rod Jones Artist

Creative Chaos: Creative chaos is no stranger to any of us. Worry, stress, anxiety, and a whole host of other robbers of our peace and contentment, are constantly running in the background. Our minds may jump from one to the other. There’s an old saying; “If you remove one demon from your mind, seven more will move in.” This is how it goes virtually day in day out. Is there a perfect day entirely free of mindful chaos? Most likely, if you’re lucky, you have many of them. But chaos does appear in even the most sainted.

When did creative chaos thrust itself upon man? Theologians may suggest it happened around the time someone took a bite out of an apple, in a garden long, long ago. We may never know for sure when creative chaos started, but there’s one thing absolutely sure, creative chaos is alive and well and beseeches us all. Just ask anyone, “You went into your studio and you were only there for a few minutes?” In this situation the typical response is. “I don’t know, I had good intentions, but now my mind is filled with anxiety brought on by worrying about all kinds of stuff.” Luckily most of us start out our creative day with good intentions and a happy spirit, and the results of our labor turns out to be beautifully wonderful. 

Creative people, and without doubt, virtually everyone is individually creative, and possesses qualities that can be defined as imaginative. Rarely if ever, know two creative thoughts are alike. The exceptional ones may have the opportunity to live generationally throughout time. Many of those creative people have come up with ways to monetize materially, bearing bountiful fruits and uses. Then humanity can archive all this creative knowledge and stream it everywhere, and to everyone. What do you think the device you’re reading this on is capable of doing? Most of its creative restrictions are mired in the user’s own abilities.

Mind one’s P’s and Q’s. Sometime in the mid-19th century this catchy slang phrase appeared, and since then, there have been many interpretations of its real meaning. Etymology aside: I like to think the P stands for your persona, like your social façade. And the— Q it stands for quatrain. The four things we all deal with when it comes to our own creative chaos. 

Number one: anxiety, no matter what your creative endeavor or medium is,  we all face a time when the ideas are nowhere to be found. The more anxious we become, the further we remove ourselves from any opportunity to be creatively authentic. Random junk plugs up our ability to focus. Like a whirlpool swirling around so quickly, that we cannot latch on to any sense of creative stability.

Number two: stress, this demon can show up virtually any time. You may be in the middle of writing the most beautiful bit of prose, you could possibly imagine; and then “wham.” Your mind refocuses on a negative thought, that seems to drift in from nowhere and gladly bringing with it the unseen, but deeply felt emotions of stress. Stressed out people are a joy to be away from—  the fact is, it’s extremely difficult to get away from yourself when you’re all stressed out.

Number three: worry, no creative person that ever lived, was not plague by worry, and probably the most vicious of all has to do with one’s ego. We worry if anyone will know, love, or respect our creations. It’s an ego/pride emotion, that happily spells itself out in words, coursing through our conscious and subconscious brains. The most prolific provider of worry, is watching the news. Chances are, it will always be negative. Turn it off! Especially if you plan on going into your studio to explore your imagination, and transfer those beautiful thoughts and ideas into a work of beauty.

Number four: you may have guessed this one, because I’ve said it before. “You become what you think about all day long.” This is not an original thought to me, by any stretch. Many motivational speakers use this. It most likely is a derivative of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “A man is but the product of his thoughts.” In other words, what all this simply means, you become what you think. If you’re creative thoughts are filled with chaotic insecurities then you have just foretold your present and future life.

No one can successfully get rid of numbers, one, two and three. Number four takes a lot of practice and self discipline. It is achievable; but when you cast out one negative thought or perception of yourself, there is a whole distasteful brigade, ready to set up camp in your head. Try and never allow that bivouac to take hold. Shift your thoughts to the positive. I have found that even, saying a prayer or two works pretty darn good.

Creative chaos, is creative. Well at least it can be. Good ideas and bad ideas can be the genesis of something astonishing. If you’re the kind of artist that paints with a brush, then you understand exactly what this means. Paintings can be most unforgiving when you make a mistake, and yes you can brush it over, but by then your mind is in a state of emotional chaos. If you’re a sculptor of marble, and you chip out the wrong piece, it’s downright devastating chaos. If you’re a writer, you may have it a little bit easier, you can simply wipe out a word, a sentence or for that matter a few pages of poor writing and begin again. If you have to depend on some industrial conveyance to finish a work of art like a kiln or maybe even a foundry, then you are going to be chaotically stressed throughout the entire process.

We all mess up creatively, which guarantees chaos. The solution is challenging, but it does bring on a semblance of inner peace, at least momentarily, and that is— practice, practice, practice. The more you do something the better chances you have of doing it well, and a job well done is in fact, a job well done. Chaos has a hard time breaching creativity when you become adept and competent in your artistic innovations.

Thoughtful creative chaos, it’s genuinely real. But like everything else in our creative lives

It can be turned into a tool of good-hearted freshness. Pushing away imaginative staleness.

Is creative chaos shareable or even in some circles contagious? Yes indeed! There invariably is someone who is jealous of what you do. These people live their lives filled with self inflicted chaos, and unfortunately they have no compunction about sharing it with everyone they come in contact with. Negative thoughts beget negative thoughts. And if you are surrounded by people who are negative, it doesn’t take long for it to rub off on you. Avoid negative people. No matter how hard you try it’s almost impossible to change their thinking. Discipline yourself to be thinking good thoughts and you will discover creativity favors the prepared mind.

Look at your own creative chaos, but do not be too judgmental of yourself, because that in itself, brings on more negativity. Chaos in the right hands gives birth to creativity in all of its beauty and glorious outcomes. After all, the beautiful planet we live on was the genesis of massive amounts of chaos. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better place to live creatively.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson