i cultivate confusion

I like this quote just now as I frenzy myself up in a writing maelstrom:


You have to systematically create confusion; it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life. – Salvador Dali

Further to my anxiety post last week, I think confusion in the creativity process is really gut churning. It throws me. And I doubt myself.

But I agree with The Big Moustached Man…confusion is the stage before clarity. It’s necessary for clarity and creative breakthrough. Being creative entails sitting smack-bang in the confusion, letting it swirl, asking questions, not expecting the answers to evolve linearly. Then sitting even longer in it, not fixed on an outcome, oblivious to what others might expect…only seeking the true depiction or expression. There is no right answer. Ever.

More than that, we create because we’re confused.

Psychology Today observed this: “Creative people habitually suspend hard-fast notions of reality …and identity. Constant questioning feeds their flexible approaches to creative problems. They keep open to possibilities and let those possibilities incubate.”

How to cultivate confusion? I think it’s just a matter of letting it wash over you, gratefully. And not wanting a “right” answer.

I find reading about whimsical artists, or reading florid prose when I sit down to write helps. Stephen Fry is a massively confused doubter. I read him sometimes and am reminded of what confusion can create. You?

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