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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Creativity (An 8-Part Series): Part IV - Forbearance

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don't miss
Part I   - Imagination
Part II  - Domestication vs. Wildness
Part III - Shape-Shifting


Forbearance is the act of patience, restraint, and tolerance. To forbear is to endure. Another interpretation is to refrain from a harsh judgment. In the Old Testament, one translation of forbear is to keep silent or to be still.


How does this relate to creativity?


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1



Creation can’t be rushed. It must unfold in its own time. It’s the difference between ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians.’ When a creative endeavor has been given the proper time to percolate, a depth and authenticity will emerge that will be undeniable. If rushed, the project will only be a toe-dip in the soul-creating cauldron. The result will be a pale façade, a shallow rendering, and one that is easily consumed and digested, leaving no lasting fullness.



How long is long enough? Only you can know this. However, understanding the need for forbearance can ease the stress of thinking I must get this done NOW. For the painter, the writer, or the filmmaker, this time should be spent learning the fundamentals. Then, when the BIG story comes, or the BIG canvas, the skills will be in place to filter the highest quality of work.


In today’s world, there’s a need to rush. We’re all guilty of it. We release a work, an idea, before it’s reached fruition. Learning forbearance is a crucial skill if we hope to fully develop our talents, and even more importantly, to understand the way our process unfolds, for this is as individual as the person.


Don’t miss Part V in the Creativity series: Maiden/Mother/Crone

Until next time…


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17 comments:

  1. Forbearance? Believe me, that's in short supply in this house. LOL. But good advice, nonetheless. I'm just trying to figure out how to have forbearance when I'm 2+ months behind schedule. [gasp, splutter] Wine, maybe?

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    1. Jacquie,
      In this publishing climate, forbearance is a challenge. And the process will be different for each of us. I think the key is in understanding it so that we don't beat ourselves up because we can't keep up with our neighbor author. We need to honor our process, and for some it may be a quicker pace. Good luck with your project!! It will be awesome, no doubt. :-)

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  2. Many times my work takes place in my head, long before I put idea to paper. Perhaps just getting the ideas out of my head and into the world makes me want to rush so I can move to the next one. Maybe I just set a goal and then feel the pressure to achieve it.

    Dang, now I have to figure this one out. Forbearance, a timely post. Thanks Doris

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    1. Hi Doris,
      It's frustrating lol. I totally commiserate. If only this creating thing was easy ... haha.

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  3. Kristy,

    While this struck me as delightfully funny, there is a sad reality in it, too: “It’s the difference between ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians.’” I wonder how different the results of the Stanford Marshmallow Test would be now as compared to 10 or even 5 years (Walter Mischel’s social psychology delayed gratification experiment of the 1960s and 1970s). Forebearance is not as popular, or practiced, in our fast-paced world.

    Keep Calm. It’s only a first draft. is my new mantra. 😉

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    1. Kaye,
      You're very right in that patience is much more difficult in this digital world where everything is consumed more quickly. It prompts us to produce quickly. And while not all work that is created this way is inferior, I think we must always be on guard that we're not blasting through something just to get it done. And I love that last graphic too. First drafts can be frightening things.

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  4. This is a great post. I'd love to borrow that middle quote. I totally agree with what you said and you said it so well.

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  5. What a beautifully written post! A lesson I have learned is to respect my own cycles and not push. Sometimes I'm in a creative phase but sometimes I'm incubating. I've learned that what I do while I'm incubating, whether that be editing an old piece or organizing my closet, all lead to a stronger creative outpouring. Love this series, Kristy!

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    1. Patti,
      Until we understand our own process, we can be filled with angst and envy over another's. One nice thing about experience is that we can finally settle into our own rhythm.

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  6. Excellent advice, and great motivation to sit back, take a deep breath, and let things take their proper time. Thank you.

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  7. Kristy, I'm soooo loving this series of yours! This is another "lesson" in creativity that is often ignored or misunderstood somehow.

    We can't all write at the same pace. Heck, I can't even write at the pace I used to write at myself. LOL And there are some people who can turn out book after book after book--then there are those who spend their entire lifetime writing only one book. I think of Margaret Mitchell when I say that. WHAT a book it was! The same with Harper Lee. Sometimes when I think of people like that, I think maybe that burning light of creativity shines differently in all of us--because to create a masterpiece such as Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird is the goal of most of us--to write something that endures, and is meaningful in some way, even if it's just pure entertainment and someone says, "Wow I loved that book. I read it 4 times."

    But for me--I think I would become bored working on ONE masterpiece for so long, and fussing over the words and the style and so on. Now I'm thinking of all the different types of creativity and the way it comes out of different people. Forbearance is a wonderful thing to keep in mind, because it keeps us from putting too much stress on ourselves if we can only understand that sometimes it takes being at a certain point in our lives to be able to write--and create--the things we wish to create.

    Great post, as always, Kristy.

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    1. Cheryl,
      Thank you! I do remember reading about Harper Lee and how long she worked on Mockingbird. She didn't just spit it out, although to most of us it may seem that way. Often there was a lifetime of work behind these endeavors that most people never see. I get a little bored too, so I'd hate to be tied to one project for years and years, but for some creators that's their calling. We must all heed the pull that rises from within.

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  8. I enjoyed this blog. It's encouraging. How many times do we as authors consider giving up? All in good time.

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    1. Laurean,
      So true. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I loved your article Kristy, and when it comes to forbearance, I think I've earned it. I write fast--when I'm writing--and leave the time-consuming headache of editing for afterwards. But in between those fast writes, life intervened and writing went on the back burner for months, sometimes years. Yet I never forgot about my characters and thus I believe my subconscious was always at work, like a computer in the background, collecting new thoughts, deeper understanding. I love that you mentioned that quote...a time for everything because I honestly believe in that wisdom...there's a time to be a daughter, a time to be a mother, a time for grieving, and finally a time for "me". I've been through all those and now I have the luxury of being able to devote myself full-time to writing. Patience and forbearance, are virtues--the hardest part is cultivating them. I look forward to more of your snippets of wisdom, Kristy.

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