Well, after the first chapter of my “Stories” comic didn’t really turn out that well (narrative poetry comics are more difficult to write than I expected), I thought I’d write about creative experimentation. Because, as you are probably aware, it’s one of the really essential things when it comes to learning how to write fiction, draw art, create animations, make comics etc….
Since creativity often comes from combining random things in new ways, experimentation is a vital part of creatitivty in general. It’s possibly why artists, writers and musicians are often more open-minded than society in general. After all, if you just follow established ideas about things, then well….you’re not going to come up with anything truly innovative or interesting.
Why do you think that scientists are always experimenting with new things and ideas? It isn’t because they’re bored, it’s because their whole career and purpose depends on discovering new things about the universe and coming up with the basis for better technology and medicine. Yes, they do this in a much more objective and formal way than you should use for your creative experimentation (which should always be subjective and informal) – but the principle is still the same. If you want to create something new or learn something new, then you have to experiment.
This is probably something of a cliche, but every writer and artist is still learning. In fact, it’s pretty much an essential part of being creative and it is often one of the best ways of learning how to do things and what does and doesn’t work in creative terms. And, yes, you will fail every now and then. You’ll produce the occasional crappy story/comic/drawing, but even this isn’t always a total loss .
The thing is not to be afraid of failing every now and then. If you expect literally every piece of your work to be perfect, then you’ll either get writer’s block fairly quickly or just end up pretty much copying the best pieces of work you’ve already done. Eventually, even you will probably find this to be boring and probably get writer’s block.
Likewise, experimenting with new things can also be a very good way of getting past writer’s block too – in fact, in my article on the subject two of the points on the list of ways to get past creative blocks are “switch to another form of creativity” and “make something crappy”.
Remember, you don’t have to publish or even finish one of your creative experiments if it doesn’t work out as well as you hoped. The important thing is to at least try it – there isn’t really much of a risk here either (in fact, it’s probably the safest form of experimentation in the world). If you fail, if it doesn’t work out – then you can just either delete it or, even better, keep it for future reference – the only loss is your time and, even then, it hasn’t been completely wasted since you’ve learnt something new and created something new.
The real benefits of experimenting creatively come from the experience of actually making new things. They come from the trial and error, they come from the second you decide to follow a strange idea rather than a conventional one, they come from the practice you get when you’re making your experimental project, they come from all the research you do or don’t do when you’re working out how to make your experimental project and they come from “thinking on your feet” when you’re actually making it too.In short, the next time a strange creative idea pops into your mind (eg: something like “wouldn’t it be interesting to produce a story narrated in an unusual style” or something like that), don’t instantly dismiss it. It could be the beginnings of your best story/comic etc… or, at the very least, it’ll teach you a few things which might come in handy when you eventually produce your best story/comic.