The Fight To Be Creative -or- Why Is Nothing Easy?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a project I’m currently working on. It’s a children’s books I’m struggling to put together with a friend of mine… and I stress the word “struggling”. It seems that every time I go to work on the book life gets in the way – life or a lack of enthusiasm. I liken it to writer’s block but I’m illustrating. Well, I’m writing it too but as I write this blog the storyline of the book is already written. I’m sure writing out the actual book text will involve some uphill climb and a plethora of obstacles as well. I’m not being pessimistic, it’s just the way it is for many a creative type.
When you’re creative, nothing comes easy… although we often make it look easy. Yes, words can flow and you can get into a groove or a rhythm. You want to ride that wave as long as you can cuz sooner or later you’ll find yourself thrown upon the rocks you failed to notice while you were daydreaming. When the mundane goings on of daily life get in the way you’ll come up with a million reasons for not working on your craft and when you snap back into work mode it’s midnight and your brain seduces you into choosing between one more episode of Star Trek (TOS) or the soft comfy pillow on your bed. It’s funny how it never gives you the option of going back to work on a creative project you’ve been putting off forever. And I do some of my best stuff at 2am.
I get very excited when I come up with new ideas. I come up with them almost daily and I know I’ve written about this before, but I fantasize what it would be like to have completed the project and it’s now a published success and I’m signing copies of my book at – insert popular book store name here – and cashing royalty checks for zillions of dollars… when in reality I’ve made no effort whatsoever to even start the project. My brain has tricked me once again into reaping the imaginary benefits and I suddenly adopt this been there done that attitude when in fact I haven’t done a damn thing. It’s bizarre!! Aaaannnnd… I move on to the next project I won’t start or finish.
I’m not sure why creative people have to deal with this perpetual battle. I suppose it’s a testament to the term “he suffers for his art”. Cuz it really is suffering! It drives us batshit crazy! It’s a constant and unending struggle for us to get off our asses and get something done.
At my day job, it’s crystal clear what I need to do. There’s very little motivation required. I know that I have to do what I do in order to provide for my family – to put food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads… to survive. People count on me to do my job. No one counts on me to write/draw children’s books or compose music. I bet if writing/drawing children’s books was my day job it’d be a very different process but for now, it’s nothing more than a hobby… an interest… a passion. My creative endeavours seem millions of miles away when I’m getting ready in the morning for my day job and, like a light switch, I change modes from father, artist, musician to protector of the innocent, wielder of justice. Batman?? Yeah,… Batman! I’m not sharpening pencils, uncapping markers and warming up Photoshop. I’m standing in front of a locker donning the mantle of a crime fighter, adjusting my body armour, loading my weapon and literally preparing to fight for my life and/or the lives of others. I’m not a superhero. I’m just a simple man who provides for his family by pretending to BE a superhero. I venture into the battlefield day after day and bear witness to boys playing a game of men.
At the day’s end I return the beast to his cage and regress to my mild-mannered persona – caring, father of two little girls, faithful husband, artist, musician, dreamer. After the children are in bed, I sit at my drawing desk and stare at the blank, off-white, cold pressed sheet of paper.
Maybe I’ll get something done tomorrow.