Making it Real is the final step in the creative process. It’s where the creator takes her or his ideas from the Inspiration & Insight step and begins to see where they can go. And it’s where the big idea becomes real: The song or poem is written. Clay turns to sculpture. Ingredients become meal.
Even though Make it Real is the final work step. It’s also an exploration step in that the creator may be playing out several ideas to discover which ones work and which ones don’t.
Whereas there are no judgments in the Sponge Work step, only slight judgments in the In the Flow step, and varying degrees of both judgment and non-judgment in the Inspiration & Insight step, in the Make it Real step, there is judgment for certain. But what the creator has to watch out for is judgment that’s coming from the wrong place.
In general, there are two “wrong” places judgment during Make it Real can come from: others and a saboteur-ridden creator.
Judgment from Others: Even though Make it Real is about finishing an idea, turning it into something tangible, hang-able, eatable, readable, etc., it’s also a process. The finished painting is not going to look so wonderful and finished in the early stages of making it real. It may not even look so wonderful during the last 15 minutes. Show “others” (the wrong others) your creation early in the Make it Real step and one thing is highly likely: The “other” is not going to be able to see your vision, and because of that, they are also likely to judge your unfinished creation unfairly, causing you to doubt your work. At this point in the creative process, it is vital to guard your creation – with claws and fangs if necessary – from others that have the potential to cause you to kill your own idea. Or, if you are a creative professional and they are your boss, to kill it themselves before it has a chance to become brilliant.
That said, there are two instances when it’s safe to share what you are making real with another person:
- When the “other” is a pure of heart creator too; a kind mentor; someone who is good at visioning where a work is going and is a person you trust; or someone who is simply your total fan (for times in the creative process when you are dying to hear “Wow! You are amazing!” – a statement which I am a fan of seeking out. After all, the authentic cheerleaders in our lives give us strength, and no matter how Polyannish a cynical observer might our cheerleaders are being, in truth, we are amazing. Simple as that. Good cheerleaders who’s wow’s come from the wisdom that there is only magnificence to be found in each of us, deliver authentic love and support. There is no doubt in our minds that the wow is real. It’s easy to tell the difference. I feel lucky to have a handful of fantastic cheerleaders in my life and I’ll tell you, if you want to stir up and express your creativity at a louder level, good cheerleaders are worth finding.
- When you are strong in general. When you believe in yourself and your ideas and know that the world is full of naysayers and that they do not have absolute truth about the viability of your work; when you are skilled at hearing criticism without allowing penetration; when you are able to toss what you don’t agree with in the trash without hesitation and without allowing it to fester into a big ball of doubt later, then you can share. Which leads to the second instance when it’s not such a great idea to share your great ideas too early in the Make it Real step.
Judgment from Saboteur-Ridden Creators: When your internal creativity saboteur is running amok (even if you are saboteur-free most of the time), avoid sharing your work like you would avoid a dark alley packed with gang members. This is not an over statement. Internal saboteurs are not cute little negativity monsters. They carry harmful weapons. They have the power to literally kill pieces of us. They stop us dead in our tracks and keep us away from our most powerful selves. Although their evolutionary purpose is to keep us safe from harm, we just don’t need their brand of safety today. Especially around our creativity. If you are working on navigating your internal creativity saboteur, be your own best bodyguard. Don’t share your work early. Create in peace. Allow your ideas to become FULLY realized before they are shared. Consciously protect yourself – and know that there’s a difference between the auto-pilot kind of keeping self safe and the conscious kind. The conscious kind is an empowered choice to give yourself the gift of a safe and courageous space in which to stretch yourself. It is not playing it safe, it’s playing it smart. You also want to guard your work from other creators who are, themselves, saboteur ridden. The critique you get is likely to come directly from their internal saboteur. The judgments will be more about the other creator than about your creation.
So, what’s the “right” place to allow judgment to come from during Make it Real? Obviously, from you. But not just any version of you. It needs to come from one of two versions of you. Either the most objective and saboteur-free you, or from the kindest, most self-loving you.
If you are a practiced creator, the objective you is likely the choice. But if you are working on expressing your creativity for the first few times, the kind, loving, forgiving, easy-going, non-perfectionist version of you is the one to pull out. This you will allow your creation to live even if it’s not “perfect.” It will be proud of you no matter what. It will want to hang up your painting, play your song, eat your falling apart sushi roll with gusto.
There is nothing wrong with imperfection in creativity. Your most self-loving self knows that what is important is not the quality of your creation, but the fact that you created. All over my house is my own artwork. None of it is “quality” in the sense of technique. All of it is brilliant to my self-loving self. Thrilled to be on display; thrilled to be seen. Thrilled to be proof of the creative force that lies within me – and everyone else.
To making your big ideas real,