A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 108: Planned Randomness

Planned Randomness: It’s a thing! Or, if it isn’t a thing, it should be a thing. Certainly, I am beginning to see that Planned Randomness is my thing.

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As I was putting the colored shapes onto the Easter cross I made for the weekend, the thought occurred to me that much of the look of the cross came from a sort of planned randomness; that is, I had a plan in mind – in this case, the large pieces of white foam board covered in shapes cut from colored poster board – but when it came to gluing them on, I had no master plan, I just slapped them on there. I really didn’t know what the whole thing was going to look like so, in effect, there was a plan but part of the plan was the serendipity of randomness.

“Serendipity” literally means “surprised by joy” and that is often what I feel after I’ve allowed that randomness into something I’ve created. In a way, when you make room for randomness, you give yourself an opportunity to be surprised, to be taken aback by something you hadn’t intended, or to have something emerge you could have never imagined. As I go along in this Year of Creating Dangerously, I am discovering more and more that the sense of the ad lib, the spontaneous, the unlooked for, is something that propels me in life. I live for the moments of serendipity.

At first I thought this Planned Randomness just applied to my artwork. But as I thought about it, I realized that it is in fact a characteristic of my entire life. I have never been much of a planner and I have often thought of it as a character flaw. Perhaps it is, but likely it is the way I am, and the way I am is like that for a reason. I am comfortable with making-it-up-as-I-go-along, with not having everything planned out before I go into things. Of course, I have had to learn to prepare and to be confident in what I undertake in life. My laxity can come across as laziness or unpreparedness, and certainly that has been the case at times. But it has served me well in my creativity, in my work life, in my relationships, to be open to whatever may come my way, without trying to force things, without having to have all the answers and information in advance.

However, I have also learned how much I value the people around me who do plan, who do research, who are capable of thinking things through step-by-step. Without them, I would be a mess and would probably create a lot of messes along the way, too. Planned Randomness needs Flexible Planners and, thank the Maker, I have had many of them in my life: People I can lean on to fill out those things I am just not good at. I believe my wife is one of these people, as well as friends, co-workers, and others that have come along in my life.

Planned Randomness is guiding me in this blog project for 2017. I quite often have no plan from day-to-day, despite my desire to do a post on creativity for each day of this calendar year. Almost subconsciously, I have planned in a spontaneity to this whole exercise. Perhaps that is fitting as it is a deeply personal experiment in discovering creativity, in seeking inspiration, and in being an inspiration to others.

As I started writing this today, I had no idea where it was going or how I was going to end it.

Typical.

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