Want to Be Creative? Stop Trying.
Remember synchronicity? Well, when I went through the unread stuff in my RSS reader, there seemed to be a message in there. Here’s what I heard.
“When it comes to depression and anxiety, however, many people continue to believe that their pain is intertwined with their creative ability. They choose to live with despair because they donâ€™t want their creative mojo taken from them. I think this is exactly wrong….” – Alice Bradley, “On Depression and the Writer”
Creativity does not require misery. That might be a an obvious statement to some. But for some, not so obvious at all.
“My â€˜tango novelsâ€™ had been built on clichÃ©s. I hadnâ€™t been ready for my own book. I hadnâ€™t had the necessary humanity. I had suffered too little, fantasised too much, and taken myself too seriously. I had lacked the lightness of touch it takes to treat dark matter. This memoir is the most authentic thing I have written. As if it had been secretly gestating for ten long years. It had been.” – Kapka Kassabova, “Memoir Gets Its Own Back”
These two quotes seem in one light to be conflicting. Should I suffer or not? Should I work or wait? ButÂ I don’t think they’re actually all that different. I think they’re both talking about the histrionic, all-or-nothing tendency of the creative brain.
This? This [where “this” is day-to-day life] is not Art! I am a failure!
If you asked me when I was in college if I thought I’d ever feel like I could reasonably say “I am a writer” or “I am a painter” I wouldn’t have believed you. Now I can.
What I have learned – and maybe what I needed to be reminded of – is just to stop worrying so much, and to let it come where and when it will.
Just because you’re dealing with the mundane – whether weighed down by it or caught up in it – you’re not failing.Â Just because you’re distracted, you’re not failing. Just because your plans are changed, you’re not failing.Â You’re letting yourself live, and that’s where Art comes from.
Will I ever create Art on the level I wish I could? I don’t know. But I know that only one thing could get me there. Just plain living.