Friday, April 01, 2011
Fill the Well Friday: Fail
Twyla Tharp quotes Jerome Robbins in her brilliant book -- The Creative Habit -- you do your best work after your biggest disasters.
Tharp also points out that it is better to fail in private rather than in public. It is what self-editing is all about -- daring to admit you have failed and can write a bad page. Daring to take risks that don't quite work out and having the courage to recognise that enhances creativity rather than detracts from it. First drafts don't have to be perfect. You can take risks and pursue ideas that don't work out. Sometimes those failures lead to other pathways that you have never dreamt about.
As I have pointed out the Amadeus myth that Mozart never made mistakes, never practiced is a dangerous one. It is through failures that people learn.
Failure can allow you to take risks. Failure forces you to reassess and re-examine. Failure can free you from fear.
When you stop panicking, and dare to fail, your creativity can rush back in. You can see ways to stretch yourself. Your hubris stops and you can take the time to learn. You no longer have to go along familiar paths. You can take risks. You can admit your ideas were weak. You no longer have to get it right the first time. You no longer have to be perfect...because well you failed. Failure doesn't mean the end. It can mean the beginning.
If you haven't failed, then you are missing an opportunity to stretch your creative muscles.
And may your failure be private ones, rather than public ones. But failure always makes the success sweeter.
You can read more about Michelle Styles's books on her website http://www.michellestyles.co.uk/