I’ve written posts in the past about the act of committing to your decisions. When we create art, we have to commit to our decisions along the way: where to place the tripod, when to click the shutter and when to say when something is finished / complete. There are many stages along the way where we have to make a choice knowing we can’t go back.
But there seems to always be a need to have an undo button with the software we use. We think that the undo button is pretty neat. Don’t like what we’ve done? We can undo it. It’s powerful. We now have more options in front of us, and that makes things more powerful, more creative, right?
Well, I don’t think so.
Having a way of being able to undo a decision is a cheap way of saying ‘I don’t have to worry about any decisions I make, and therefore, I can take them less seriously than if I knew that once they are made, I can’t go back.
What would you do if you had no undo feature with your software?
Would you be more careful with your edits? Would you think twice before you delete something? Would you find that every decision you made became quite difficult? Would you slow down? Would you find yourself torn, unsure of what to do?
Being a creative person is all about taking risks, of accepting that you may fail. Failure is good for us. Being able to be comfortable at failing when experimenting means that you open up your chances of doing something surprising. It also means you aren’t following the beaten path of the derivative.
Having no undo, means you have to stand by your decisions and learn to let go if things go wrong.
Having no undo means you are free. Because as soon as you are no longer scared to screw up, you are free to try anything you want, and to see where it goes.
Creativity cannot be controlled, perfected, done with no room for failure. Failure is part of the creative process, and having no undo button is actually a good thing. Having an undo button is actually stopping you from letting go, and from trusting yourself to give things a go because you believe in what you do.