Throwing away

Chris Corrigan highlights two quotations on writing. The first is from Jeanette Winterston:

Creativity is inexhaustible. Experiment, play, throw away. Above all be confident enough about creativity to throw stuff out. If it isn’t working, don’t cut and paste – scrap it and begin again.

This really lands with me. I think being willing to just throw stuff away is a great part of being creative. I think of times I’ve written something that’s taken what feels like days, and then some IT error wipes it. I panic, assuming it will take days to reproduce it. Once I’ve calmed down, I find I can do it again in maybe a couple of hours, and usually it’s better than the lost draft. Making films, I find it’s better to just do lots of takes and keep going until it feels right, cheerfully abandoning the ones that don’t feel quite right. A lot of learning happens out of the rational mind, we’re getting better all the time without noticing. If we get stuck in analysis, we’re often just getting in our own way.

This is how I use performance activities when exploring difficult conversations. If we stop trying to get them right, we can have more fun just playing with possibilities. And that greatly increases our likelihood of discovering things that just work. These days, I’ve become more ruthless about avoiding analysis of what’s happening as we iterate, instead aiming to just up our productivity.

Chris’ second quote is from Naomi Alderman:

Remind yourself, every day, that you’re doing this to try to find something out about yourself, about the world, about words and how they fit together. Writing is investigation. Just keep seeking

And this is another way to reframe what we’re doing when we play: we’re investigating the world. And ourselves.


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