There is definitely a period of time where you should be working behind the scenes. But at some point, you have to decide that it’s okay to just start. The pieces will come together over the course of time. Follow your instinct, and do something that gives back to you. Find ways to be energized enough to stick with it for long periods of time. What you don’t want to do is burn yourself out on something you don’t really care about. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what you want, you can begin to discover what you want to do by simply doing. There’s no magic formula that says “this is your starting point.” You have to decide when the right time is.
Sometimes a body of work can be structured out and mapped to a T before the actual work begins. But even on those sorts of projects, things are always reshaped along the way. Whether the project is a business website revamp, or a band making an album in the studio. Creating is creating. There are so many similarities between creating a website, creating a song, creating a meal, creating a course, a film, editing a picture and etc. Sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling and see which direction it begins to fall naturally. Then you will shift your perspective from predictive theories to actuality.
It’s moments like this where the passion, prior experience, and the instincts come into play. When I start a song, I might have an idea of how long it might be, how it will sound in the end, what kind of textures and cues will happen throughout. But once I actually start putting it together, something will inevitably turn itself upside down. Maybe the song is half as long as I originally thought… Maybe a key element came into existence after hearing the song in context, or maybe a unique tone was introduced by accident. On occasion, sometimes you should try things that you think WON’T work. There are things that happen outside of the mind which you could never have imagined prior to getting started.
Bridge the Gap
When something stays in your mind, it is near limitless. It is not bound to the principles of this world (materials, time). It can be reshaped at will, but never fully realized. Once you begin to bring it into the world, it begins to take shape. It molds itself around the objects and materials in which it is being created. It conforms, to some degree. It can also push and pull the existing spectrum of art into new directions.
To say that an artist knows every detail of a work before it is started would be a lie. When creating, you need to be responsive to the outcome as it unfolds. You might even be convinced that you’re going to create Thing A, only to find half way through that it would turn out much better as Thing B. The more you create, the more you’ll get to know the nuances that bring it all together.
The act of bringing a creation out of the mind and into the world is what enhances our ability to do more of it. To convey your mind. That’s the magic, and it only gets better the more you practice it.