Joel Dueck ·

Creative Opacity

Opacity can be a creative choice: the choice to show your results while keeping your methods secret. It is to deny others the pleasure of looking behind the curtain — but also to deny yourself the pleasure of revealing the full extent of your cleverness. This second denial is really the point, because it’s easier to share your methods than to create something good.

Creative transparency quite often results in methods and tools becoming the focal point, a product you develop for others. This diverts energy away from your original goal. It is also tempting to think that allowing people to delve under the hood of your mediocre product will make the mediocre product more interesting. So the work suffers for lack of energy, and is suffered to suffer because of this lie you tell yourself.

Opacity is the antidote for this failure-state. It is withholding from yourself the pleasure of revelation until you have something that is, by itself, worth revealing.