making it up as we go along (an interview)

Liz Massey of Creative Liberty blog featured an interview called  with Sally in her April e-newsletter. Check it out here to learn how ‘the improvised life’ came about, and Sally’s rant-ette on the creative process, how cooking relates to improvising, and the benefits of adopting an improvisational frame of mind… Here’s an excerpt:

What advice would you have for someone who’d like to become more improvisational in their life, but is afraid to try?
Fear, of course, can put the kibosh on anything if you let it. People tell me they are afraid they will fail, make mistakes, look like a fool, not be perfect, break the taboo of who they are “supposed” to be …

I view improvising as a practice: when you have an idea you’d like to try, even if you think you’ll be terrible at it, or that it will be a failure, ask yourself why not? and try it. If possible, suspend the inhibiting idea of doing things perfectly. If you are afraid of people judging you, work in private at first, but do it, take the step to see what happens if you try out your idea. Just doing that much is liberating. With practice, it gets easier and easier, and then there’s no way you cannot continue, because it is thrilling and incredibly illuminating.

Is there anything else on this topic you’d like to add?
When you have an idea, I recommend asking yourself: “what would happen if …?” and “why not?”, and saying YES instead of NO frequently. Perfection is overrated.

The photo, above, is our early cut-and-paste process of roughing out ‘the improvised life’, to convey some of what we were thinking to amazing graphic designer Pamela Hovland so she could help us translate our ideas into an understandable and easy-to-use form…After many months and a zig-zagging process, it evolved into the website you are looking at right now! (With apologies for the poor quality of the photo.)

To read more of Massey’s interviews, click here.

4 Responses to making it up as we go along (an interview)

  1. edie 04.12.2011 at 5:50am #

    great interview. “perfection is overrated” – will take this away with me. so true!

  2. Liz @ Creative Liberty 04.12.2011 at 11:43am #

    Thank you so much for the shout out. I had a great time with this interview process and LOVE your blog!

    –Liz ;)

  3. daniel 04.12.2011 at 1:27pm #

    You said that perfection is overrated. I agree. I’d like to add that perfection is pretty boring, which is reason enough to avoid it altogether. Besides that, perfection doesn’t exist. Only nature can create perfection, and by our standards of “perfection”, it’s pretty imperfect.

  4. pippin 04.12.2011 at 5:47pm #

    I have been called on to ‘improvise’ every night when i put my son Sterling to bed.
    “Can you tell me a bed time story?” asks my six-year-old.
    “Sure.”
    “Make it about a…” – and he picks some animals – “chipmunk and a squirrel.”

    Amazingly, this is hard to do when I overthink it, but surprising easy when I just take what is right in front of me and go with it.
    So what is right in front of me?
    * the two animals he requested the story about
    * anything in the room or house that i can refer to
    * events from the recent past
    * whatever images pop into my mind as i picture these animals interacting

    This nightly improv has helped me hone my storytelling skills.
    The ability to ‘make it up’ in the moment is useful in a lot of areas.
    Pip

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