“When it comes to really good art-making, you must always begin with what moves you first. ”
Where to begin?
That was the question I asked myself many times over the last few weeks as I composed a talk on the creative process.
I started answering the question by asking it right back to myself:
When I am making something…where do I begin?
As I jotted down pages of notes in preparation, there were a couple points that I really wanted to make sure I communicated clearly. But the one thing that I wanted people to hear more than any other was this:
When it comes to really good art-making, you must always begin with what moves you first.
In my experience, the kind of art that speaks to the masses is rarely the kind that sets out to prove a point, however truthful or right. Nor is it the kind that starts with the audience in mind - what do I want them to feel?
The art that truly soars is the kind that evokes something from deep within your audience. And it accomplishes this feat only because, and only after, it has first moved something in you.
Now when I say “moving,” I don’t mean making someone feel something and then slapping an ideology somewhere towards the end. That’s the business of propaganda. That is the message overtaking the medium.
What I’m talking about is more akin to starting with the stuff that forms lumps in your throat.
I’m sitting there in the audience and I want to know what moves you, not what you think will move me!
Chances are near perfect that that which is most specific to your journey will speak to me as well. Such is the universality of the human experience.
This moving part, which is almost always found at the center of good art, comes from you and you alone. But you must know what moves you first.
And this is how you begin.