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The Risk of Creation

Piers Henwood
2 min read

How can I live a creative life? Whether my audience is one or one million, what does it mean to be creative?

Creativity is not the privilege of a few. Art is neither defined by its frame nor the institution in whose hall it hangs. Art is instead defined by process. Any action can be done with an artist’s eye, by taking experience and twisting it into something new. We observe and listen. We overcome the fear of standing out. We imagine, execute, and finish. These lessons can be used as effectively in boardrooms as they can on stage.

Perhaps the greatest requirement of the creative process is to finish. But no creative project ever feels complete to the creator; there is always a looming after-thought, that brush stroke that might have been added or removed. Finishing becomes an intense game of will.

When we don’t finish we might lack confidence in the outcome or the audience. We question ourselves, we question our process, and we may even question our self-worth. This must be a feeling that anyone can relate to, in any field. But we must finish nonetheless, and encourage those around us in life to do the same. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson that comes from the creative process. Finish.

What compels the creator? The opportunity to express, to self-actualize, to assert his and her voice. The creator leaves behind a postcard – an “I was here” note – like a group of letters carved into the wood of an old boarded house. Not only was I here, but this is what I saw.

Of course the great creators see things a little bit differently, and those who see things differently have a chance at immortality if their visions are shared across time and place. But being remembered should never be the first goal.

I work in the service of musicians, artists and creators. In this service I’ve also chosen to continue to walk in these same shoes, to further my understanding of the artistic process and the challenges facing any creator. We live in a culture that ignores most artists, and then crushes, criticizes, and spits out those few who achieve fame. Many believe that celebrated musicians should be nothing but thankful for their good fortune.

I believe the opposite.

We should instead be thankful to any artist for their vision, courage, and resiliency – each of which must increase exponentially in direct relation to their fame, often through unseen pain and error. So let’s celebrate all people who choose the risk of creation – artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs alike.

Whether their audience is one or one million, society deeply needs them.