Save Everything

Save Everything - Dance Notes creativity blog for educators

In a recent post, we discussed the value in generating ideas quickly, then discarding them. Let’s now look at the benefit of keeping what we’ve produced. Let go… but save everything!

Kept and Valued

You can be both not too precious about what you make and diligent in storing your creations. The same art teacher that encouraged my class to work fast and throw our work away also instilled the principle of keeping everything. And this isn’t the contradiction it at first appears.

We can free ourselves to be creative and explore new ideas when we aren’t constrained by the need to produce ‘finished’ work all the time. However, once we do create something substantial, we may not always have an immediate outlet. Especially if our work is experimental by nature. This does not, though, mean that it should not be kept and valued.

Future Inspiration

We never know when such work may be useful. Nor can we guess when something may prompt us to revisit the ideas or methods employed in its creation. Keeping an archive means we can readily access earlier output. We can then find it as and when needed, if only for future inspiration.

The brain is a curious thing. When an idea is present, it is hard to imagine it not being there anymore. How often have you thought ‘I should write that down’ but then not done so? At that moment, the thing on your mind is so clear you can’t imagine it disappearing. But then, when you need to remember what it was, it has evaporated.

It Is Work

The same can be said of creative work. It is such an immersive experience that, at the time of creation, the notion you may not be able to remember what was made or how it was done is hard to entertain. Trying to recreate something that came from a moment’s inspiration is virtually impossible. So, it’s a good idea to hold on to your work, even if you have no idea why you would want to.

And it is work. In the educational world, the relative value placed upon creative activity waxes and wanes. Those of us actively engaged in creative education are in no doubt as to its intrinsic value on multiple levels. However, because the act of being creative can be very playful and enjoyable, it is all too easy to dismiss as frivolous. Building a body of work is one way to offset any such misgivings.

Demonstrating Your Abilities

There is a whole other debate to be had about whether the value in an artwork is in its perceived price or something less tangible. But the fact is that most creative professionals have to work to order, in some capacity or other, in order to survive. Which means they are subject to other people’s assessment of the value of their work. And they need to be able to demonstrate their abilities to prospective clients.

Most ‘artists’ will be producing whether or not they are commissioned so to do. Were they to simply discard the work that was not ordered, they would have little to show for their efforts and no way of exhibiting their skills and talents. Keeping a portfolio is vital for the procurement of sustaining work. Or, in an educational context, a place on a chosen course of study.

Keep Everything

So, free yourself creatively by not always aiming to produce ‘finished’ work. But keep everything you do finish. And organise that into a useable, presentable archive wherever possible. You never know when you may need to present evidence (or just want to remember your creation for its own sake).

Your creative work is work. And that is valuable. If not now, then you never know when you may need it.   

Let Go

Go With the Flow

Take Note

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