The first design secret is one that I just figured out and it has made my life so much better. Design Sponge regularly interviews creative business owners in a series that they call Life and Business. A few weeks ago they interviewed the artist Cecilia Ruiz. Her interview stood out to me because of it's honesty, especially this quote:
"The biggest lesson I have learned is that in every project (or almost every one) there is a moment of darkness…internal darkness. There is always a moment when doubts, insecurities, anxiety and procrastination arise and it is only with work and through work that one can see the light on the other side. I keep re-learning this with every project I take. Sometimes the dark cloud passes fast and sometimes it lingers for a couple of days. I have learned to be patient and I try to embrace it since it is just one more stage of the creative process."
This. is. me. I experience periods of darkness in every single project that I do--every single one. Sometimes it lasts for days or months, or sometimes I cycle through the process several times before the project is actually done. Before I read this quote, I thought I felt internal darkness because I was inexperienced, an amateur, or not a real designer. It is so liberating to know that this is something that all artists experience, no matter how good or experienced they are. Now that I know this, I can anticipate the depression stage of a project and embrace it like she says. Because, as frustrating as it is, the process truly does move me to dig into the most creative depths of my soul.
I created the Creative Process poster (pictured above) to hang up by my desk to remind me that designing is a process. I almost added a separate button that says "I am here" to remind me where I am in the cycle. I've seen different versions of this creative process in several different places (one in Show Your Work), but this is my version. You can download it below so that you can remember that creation is a process, and anything worth creating will take time and emotional investment.