Yesterday, I talked about “5 good things” or characteristics every “worthy project” shares. But how does one find a worthy project?
Like love, the recipe for finding a worthy project is as individualized as each artist. However, several “ingredients” seem to be crucial:
The project should meet the artist where he or she is. For a beginning musician, a worthy project may very well be playing a simple song without a mistake. For those further along in their studies, playing with others, or studying improvisation might be the right challenge to grow their abilities.
The project should have some elements that can be quantified. Often, artists may shy away from this step, as tender egos can be crushed by inappropriate comparisons with others in a far different stage of skill development or mastery. And I am not advocating a rush to show one’s work to the world before he or she is ready, or to force statistical analysis onto a generative process.
However, just wanting to play (or write, or draw) “better” may make it difficult to find the resources or prescribe the practices that will help us achieve what we’d like. Picking a part of the project that can be measured or evaluated—if only by oneself—can give direction to our art-making.
The project should excite the creator. Nobody gets aroused by an arranged marriage. Whatever your creative goal is, find activities that make you want to grab your instrument out of its case, run to the keyboard and start typing, or get to the dance studio and do your warm-ups. Combining this step with the others ensures you can get through dry periods, or times when practice seems rote and pointless.
The road to love, whether with a beloved partner or your worthy project, can be thrilling, energizing, and ecstatic, as well as frustrating, confusing and difficult. But if you’ve found the right “one,” you are unlikely to regret taking the journey.
Note: This article (and the post preceding this one) was adapted from one originally published in the February 2008 newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association.