Cultivating Creativity

Working through the creative process


Evan Johnson

Senior Evan Johnson sits in his creative studio Feb. 20 at his house. After his sister moved out of the house to attend college, Johnson repurposed the room as a space to work on creative projects.

Evan Johnson

To me, executing new creative ideas is like growing a rosebush when I don’t know how to garden yet. The final product can be really beautiful and rewarding, but grappling with it can be thorny and a little painful. But by the time my rosebush is fully grown, I’ve gained some experience and am a little better at gardening.

In terms of my own projects, finishing the Well Dressed Wednesday promotional video as well as continuing to work on the magazine that’s going to release in the near future has given me insight on myself and how to approach future creative endeavors. Here’s what I’ve learned from those experiences:

Just start: The first and, sometimes, hardest step to creating anything is simply getting started. Sometimes new creative projects feel daunting or complicated. This is my biggest enemy to my motivation and is usually what leads me to procrastinating, even if I like what I’m doing. Progress is not linear. Stressing about making significant progress every time is harmful to keeping my sanity during a project. Before I stress about how my rosebush is going to grow, I have to at least plant it first.

Be OK with bad ideas: Every bad idea provides a learning experience and ground to stand on. Maybe I overwatered my bush and some leaves wilted. A mistake nonetheless, but a learning experience for the rest of my garden and one step closer to the ultimate goal. The bad ideas often lead to the great ones.

Done is better than perfect: I am far from a perfectionist, but it’s easy to get caught up in trying to make something the best it can be. While this isn’t meant to discredit striving for exceptional work, understanding that I won’t always create a perfect rendition of what I had in mind is necessary to avoid getting hung up on small details.  Not every rosebud will bloom perfectly.