Cursors are so annoying. As if you didn’t put enough pressure on yourself to create, there’s that stupid, blinking line, always one stroke ahead of you, just….waiting. Did you know that cursors blink at the same rate as the Jeopardy song? Seriously, I checked (120 bpms for anyone that cares). I mean, I’ve got a job and taxes to deal with. The last thing I need is the universe trying to be cute.
But I digress.
Hi. You’ve found me eleven days into the New Year, trying to make good on a resolution. I’m not usually a fan of online social platforms used almost solely to talk about trite, personal ambition. But then again….Facebook. So, I thought I’d use this space to fill you in on what I’m hoping for in the new year. It’s going to be a biggie. I’ve got two goals for creative work for this year:
- Start a business
- Write a book
I know, trust me. Getting one of those out of the gate would be huge. However, I tend to feel ambitious in January. Oddly enough, the cold weather is really inspiring. I tend to get depressed in the summer, which I know is backwards.
One of the deep realizations I had at the end of 2105 was that I have to create to feel healthy. If you’re reading this, maybe you feel the same way. If not, now is a good time to stop reading, as the rest of the post will be of no value to you.
Creativity is (in my mind) the output of ability, time and inspiration. You’re born with the first, manage the second and partner with the third. For the last few years, my creative output has been at an all-time low. I can’t overstate the negative impact this has had on me. Most regularly, I’ve blamed a lack of time. While a common justification, it’s also irritating to hear others complain about how “busy” they are, so I cringe every time the words leave my mouth. Also, many people have done more with less, so I decided that lack of time is a mental construct. For me, I have to wake up earlier, go to bed later, or better yet, manage my days more effectively. So if it’s not time, and if it’s true that I was born with the ability to create, it leaves only inspiration to blame.
I’ve found inspiration to be tricky. It’s like a building a fire. You have to tend to the flame or it will self-extinguish. Creativity without inspiration usually results in bad art. The problem is that inspiration won’t come to you unless you’re prepared for it. For me, that means making “space” in my head. Busyness of mind is a killer. I’m not sure how else to explain it, but I know that it’s active and takes discipline. Trying to force creativity without inspiration is like letting down the sails of a boat, only to realize that you’re stuck on the reef at low tide. Inspiration is the water that lifts the boat. But then the real work begins.
When all three elements are working in unison (ability, time and inspiration), you’ve still got do something with the spark. This (I think) is where many creatives stop; the purgatory between ability and output. It’s the hard, hard work of making good art. Learning to manage time and tend the flame. But like C.S. Lewis says, “let choirs sing well or not at all.” So this year, for me, is about creating. Creating to feel healthy and creating because it’s what I was designed for. Here’s to what I hope will be good art.