Process over product

Creative work requires openness, interplay, slack, Sense of abundance. Fixation on output often creates Scarcity mindset, subverts its own goal. Also readily makes creative work miserable.



Collecting some related material:

Jess Miller’s Becoming a magician – Autotranslucence

You can’t keep your gaze tightly fixed on the outcome you want because it will lock your mind onto the strategies you currently have for meeting them, which by definition probably don’t work (otherwise you would have succeeded already and you wouldn’t need to use the strategy).

Wanting - Luke Burgis

Have you noticed that goals have an irreproachable and unimpeachable status? You want to run an ultramarathon? People will applaud your determination. Run for city office? You have their support. Sell your home and move into the back of a van? Cool, essentialism is in. Nobody will question your goals.

David Whyte, Consolations, “Ambition”

Ambition abstracts us from the underlying elemental nature of the creative conversation while providing us the cover of a target that has become false through over-description, overfamiliarity or too much understanding. …Everything true to itself has its own secret language and an internal intentionality with a secret surprising flow, even to the person who supposedly puts it all in motion. … We may direct the beam of ambition to illuminate a certain corner of the future world but ultimately it can reveal to us only those dreams with which we have already become familiar. …

No matter the self-conceited importance of our labors we are all {compost for worlds we cannot yet imagine}. Ambition takes us toward that horizon, but not over it - that line will always recede before our controlling hands. But a calling is a conversation between our physical bodies, our work, our intellects and imaginations, and {a new world that is itself the territory we seek}. A vocation always includes {the specific, heartrending way we will fail at our attempt to live fully}. A true vocation always {metamorphoses both ambition and failure into compassion and understanding for others}.
Ambition takes willpower and constant applications of energy to stay on a perceived bearing; but a serious vocational calling demands a constant attention to {the unknown gravitational field that surrounds us and from which we recharge ourselves}, as if breathing from the atmosphere of possibility itself. A life’s work is not a series of stepping-stones, onto which we calmly place our feet, but more like an ocean crossing where there is no path, only a heading, a direction, in {conversation with the elements}. Looking back we see the wake we have left as only a brief glimmering trace on the waters.

Ambition is natural to the first steps of youth who must experience its essential falsity to know the larger reality that stands behind it, but held onto too long, and especially in eldership, it always comes to lack surprise, turns the last years of the ambitious into a second childhood, and makes the once successful into an object of pity.

Lovely paean to process orientation in Frederick, M. (2007). 101 things I learned in architecture school. MIT Press.

Extremely intense Twitter thread on this topic from Navin Kabra.

Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality.

The Artist’s Way - Julia Cameron

Research is {an iterative process of exploration}, not {a linear path from idea to result}. —Tim Gowers

(via Michael Bernstein - CS 197 - Vectoring—can’t find the original reference)

Last updated 2023-07-13.