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October 2014

September 2014

The Blank Review

 This summer I have been reading The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, by author Sarah Lewis.  I often turn to writers, philosophers, and researchers in my quest to understand, and recharge, especially after the long stretches when nothing – creatively – seems to get done.

Lewis aptly describes this frustrating period as the gap.  “Trying to bridge the gap between work and vision can be like hearing the notes to a song without being able to finish hearing the complete tune.”  Part of this process, she proposes, involves working in private, examining failure, and self-critiquing progress to better identify the goal.

We often have a vision but lack the skills and ability to achieve what we imagine.  But the experiences of artists before us support Lewis’s conclusions.  Start somewhere.  Evaluate what you accomplished.  Try again with the idea of improving on what you accomplished. And slowly you begin to understand exactly what you want to achieve.

This should be an easier process than it is, but Lewis adds, “Closing the gap means coping with the blank review.”

And the blank review is the one you give yourself. 

Ideas I use when confronted by this blank review:

The self critique, where I look at the characteristics of work I would like to achieve, and compare to the work I produce.

The plan, where I try to identify what I need to learn and master in order to achieve idea number 1.

The committment, where I insist to myself that I not give up when my efforts to achieve idea number 2 result in multiple failures. 

The vision, which I hold on to when idea number 3 begins to fail. 

What ideas do you use?