1. Tim3232
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    Tim3232 Active Member

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    How creativity is helped by failure

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Tim3232, Nov 14, 2015.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34775411

    (It's quite a long article on creativity - basically it concludes that practise makes perfect. Instead of concentrating on quality just keep turning it out, learn from mistakes and you will produce quality eventually. (How do we learn from mistakes might be a good question question - especially if we don't even recognise them.))
     
  2. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    What a foolish assertion being advanced... the conclusion is unsupported by the evidence.

    Creativity is not aided by failure, but the process is enhanced by the ability to execute, modify and accept risks.

    If you try one thing, fail and stop - you made one thing. If you try again, hopefully you made a better or different expression. It may still be terrible, but the point is that you now know two things that do not work. It is illogical to believe greatness can come from a total lack of experience - or to tie it to "creativity".

    One of the worst things a person can do is to call someone "talented" - as if they have a gift or insight into a particular craft. It demeans all the work they did to get to that point as if it were some predetermined skill granted by god or nature. Creativity is a skill rooted in observation, experimentation and expression. It is not tied to failure, but it must be executed and honed like any other craft.
     
  3. ReproveTheCurlew
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    ReproveTheCurlew Member

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    I agree somewhat with Inks, but I do see failure as a necessary part of becoming good - at anything. One just shouldn't expect to become good automatically by doing bad things - that idea is incomplete. I believe that one has to create things in any stage of one's writing - and thus necessarily fail. By getting feedback, or just by studying the text oneself, one can then spot the precise areas which need work, and thus hone one's skills. So in a sense, failing is necessary to have something to build upon, but only through actively learning from those failures can one actually become a good writer. I believe the same counts for many other things in life.

    As for creativity itself as opposed to the actual craft involved... I'm not so sure. Having good and creative ideas is certainly not the same as executing them well. I find that in times where I write more, I also have more ideas, which might suggest that just the mere act of thinking enhances the creative outflow... but I really don't know. Any ideas?
     
  4. Tim3232
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    Tim3232 Active Member

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    It’s probably a term used in many places, but after a lesson at golf – we say practise makes permanent. Even pros have coaches to make sure their game and their practise stays on track. Without tuition, study or reflection don’t we just keep practising how to do things badly? And back to golf, I’ve always liked the maxim – the harder I practise the luckier I get – but it only works if you understand what you’re practising.

    So, I don’t rate the article very much either. However, I am aware of people who seem (or claim) to spend all their spare time writing. Are they improving? It might well keep the creative juices flowing (and the ideas coming) but the craft of writing surely needs study as well as practise.
     
  5. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is only true to a certain extent, and it is ridiculous to claim that 'natural talent' doesn't exist. Of course it exists. No doubt the people endowed with such have still worked very hard to hone that natural ability, and it shouldn't be overlooked, but they sure as hell had a head start on people without the same natural ability.

    Nor am I sure how you can claim we don't learn from our mistakes. When I decided I wanted to start making little leather wallets, the first few attempts were dreadful, but from the mistakes I made during that process - which resulted in such poor results - I knew what NOT to do next time. Half a dozen wallets in - eliminating past mistakes each time - and I was finally happy with the finished product.
     
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  6. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    As far as I can see this article is saying that quality products are normally created by an iterative process.
    Translated into the world of writing, that means if you do multiple drafts you'll end up with a better piece of writing.
    In the article, Pixar talks about slowly making their rubbish movie better and better. They don't talk about creating lots and lots of different rubbish movies and discarding them all.
     
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the discarding is irrelevant, personally. It's still the same process. The reason Pixar don't discard is down to both cost and the fact they can 'undo' their mistakes, in much the same way you can undo a crap sentence is a passage of writing, when using a PC.
     
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  8. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    True to an extent. Though I think learning from your mistakes is going to have a larger effect, if your second attempt is trying to make a fixed version of your first attempt.
    More of the detected mistakes are directly relevant.

    If you write something totally different some knowledge will carry accross, but you'll still make a batch of new mistakes that you couldn't have learned from the old piece of writing, just because you're trying something different.
    It's why many proffessional writers still write rubbish first drafts, though nowhere near as rubbish as amateur's first drafts.

    I'm not trying to argue that you should never ditch a project by the way. Sometimes you might have created something that is irredeemable.

    The point I was attempting (and maybe failing) to make is that I don't think this article is trying to say anything particularly different to commonly accepted writing philosophies. Very few writers deny that multiple drafts help.
     
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