To be creative you have to be willing to destroy

The other day I came upon a chapter in something I was reading on how destruction is a necessary element of creativity. This phrase hit me with that intense zing of truth that happens only when we recognize something we never before put into words before but already knew to be true.
Destruction has many forms. It can be as literal as taking scissors to an image or more metaphorical as questioning a belief. I would say anything that doesn’t just accept and repeats what was received at face value is a certain form of destruction. 

I came to the conclusionthat what follows are 3 important things you need to be willing to destroy in order to develop and grow as an artist. 


To draw something you have to be willing to destroy paper. 

You might argue that if it goes well, it elevates the paper’s value. Yes, if it goes well, it definitely will elevate! But let’s be honest, it most often does not go well. Also to get to a point where it goes well more than it doesn’t, you have to truly destroy many many papers. 

 I know that to some people this will sound almost banal, but I have experienced it myself and I have seen people going through it in my workshops when we switch from a pencil sketch to brush and paint. People become so afraid of making a mistake and ruining paper they just sit there, frozen, afraid to make the first stroke of paint on paper. Eventually they do push through the block but their poor tense hand just barely stumbles through one stiff line. Every invitation to “just let it flow” is met with “ I want to but I can’t, what if it’s no good and I just ruin the paper”.
I understand this! I feel their pain.

But imagine another way. Imagine if they somehow gave themselves permission and simply accepted that 
they can ruin this paper like a child completely unaware of the consequences of their actions except for joy and burning curiosity.
The fact you are practicing or learning something new is a good enough reason to ruin that paper. Yes, your practice is worth ruining the paper!
Imagine the freedom you might feel and express if you accept this.
When you realize this destruction is necessary and unavoidable, you are free to try anything. 

And with time, you will 100% get to a point where you are not only destroying paper but elevating its value with every stroke. 


To create a new idea you need to destroy a few old ones. 

If you are not willing to take what you know apart and ruin it completely you cannot be creative! 

You might be one of those few people who due to their youth or their pride still likes to believe that their ideas come from a vacuum of their mind, completely original and untouched by human interference. If you are, I am honored to be the first one to tell you: 

There is no originality. 

Everything is sourced from somewhere and everything already exists! That said, our chance for originality comes from our ability to deconstruct and put together ideas in new ways. All you need to do is just take whatever tickles your heart/ brain/ soul/ genitalia, whichever chakra you mostly operate from, take a hammer to it, and let it rip. It’s all fair game. 

Then when it’s all in pieces put it together in whichever way you feel like. 


To create a new direction you need to destroy an old one. 

I know what you’re thinking. I don’t need to destroy it, I can simply abandon it. Yes, but let me offer this thought: Abandonment is a form of destruction too ( all my abandonment issues peeps can testify to this).
Once you abandon anything, a potential future it had dies. This applies to career plans, relationships, ideas of self, and anything really. A version of you or a direction of life doesn’t actually exist until you take it. Hence, taking any direction creates and destroys the one you didn’t take. This is exactly what ambivalence is. Unwillingness to let any option die. Keep in mind though, destruction is pointless if it stops there.
If you don’t create something afterward, destruction has little value. 

So there you go. I hope this was almost enough proof for you. To be honest, I hope it’s just enough proof for you to start looking for your own proof or disproof and finding many of both. After all, if I don’t destroy this idea of creativity I won’t be able to have a new one.

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