The panic is a feature, not a bug.
The dinner guests are arriving in 5 minutes. Jack grabs the paprika, shakes it on the main dish to provide the final flourish. He looks at his dish again and finds he has shaken tiny insects all over his dish, which is now crawling with them. He’s got to come up with something else to feed his guests fast.1
The album is due in 2 weeks, and I hate what I’ve done. The whole production is unimaginative and over-complicated, and my piano playing sounds graceless and ham-fisted. It’s too late to re-record. I can try to tweak it, I can miss the deadline and release a Christmas album in January (an artistic first!), or I can shit-can the whole project.2
Joe promised he’d write something every day about creativity. As he stares at the screen, he realizes he’s got nothing. His thoughts are a dry expanse of arid desert, baked in the afternoon sun.3
We’ve all had things that fall apart as we’re trying to put them together. This desperation, which is really a panic, is actually part of the creative process. It’s a sign that things are going right.
It’s a sign that we’ve attached to a certain outcome, but that the Universe in its infinite wisdom has a different outcome in mind for us. It’s time to embrace what is and keep moving.
Are you panicking about something right now? Are your plans going awry? Fear not. You are at the epicenter of your next creative revolution. You’ve got this.4
This actually happened, but not to me. I will not elaborate on how the situation resolved.
This actually happened to me.
This is actually happening right now.
Please email me and remind me of this when my next album is due.