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As a child, I regarded myself as the creative type. I was a lot into crafting and always making up new weird (and disturbingly brutal) stories. Christmas presents were often selfmade and the materials to wrap them were almost just as expensive as the presents themselves. Nowadays I can not even properly wrap up a book.
I loved drawing until I came to the conclusion that my style was not the way I wanted it to be. So, I gave it up. At a certain point ideas for stories started to disappear. Nothing seemed to be good enough. So, I gave writing up, as well. And as you get older, you simply prefer to buy your Christmas presents instead of making them yourself. I mean, who's got the time for that anyway?
And isn't it sad, that we tend to loose qualities like that over the years? Things we were once highly passionate about fade away, because we either find "perfectly rational" reasons to let them go or because we fail to make time for them.
Recently, I've watched two very interesting videos featuring Elizabeth Gilbert. The first one was a TED talk, the second one an interview with Marie Forleo. While her highly successful book "Eat, Pray, Love" is not one of my favourites, I do think that she is a very gifted writer, as well as a talented speaker. She offers so many interesting and inspiring insights in a way only a few people can.
A lot of her talks and interviews center on the topic of creativity - why people are afraid to be creative, but also why we shouldn't be.
According to her, perfectionism kills off creativity. Someone who is truly a perfectionist will not even start a new project just because he is afraid of screwing up. And I could not agree more, especially since I believe that this ridiculous form of perfectionism is the reason why I gave up so many things that I used to love.
When I was a child, I did not give a damn about what other people might think about my creations. I drew or wrote whatever came to my mind. It was pure pleasure. But the older I got, the more I started to feel like my creations had to have a deeper meaning, a higher value. I didn't want to show my drawings and texts around anymore, because the prospect of criticism was so scary. I was also afraid that even if people said that they liked what I had done, they would do it so they wouldn't have to hurt my feelings.
And I have to say that I'm still dragging this fear with me everywhere I go. It is like a heavy, black shadow, that lurks over my shoulder, watching every single move. It is paralyzing and destroys almost every single attempt at getting back to where I used to be: a state of uncompromising creativity.
So here I am, waiting for motivation and inspiration to come around. A mistake a lot of people make. while motivation often doesn't show up until you are already engaged in a project, inspiration is even more scarce. There might be moments of clarity, a spark that suddenly turns into this great idea.
But most of the time it is hard labour. Even Elizabeth Gilbert, who seems to be so effortless in the way the talks about her work, says that she actually has to slave away like a mule most of the time.
Motivation and inspiration are not the things you should wait for. It'll only cost you even more time. The real trick is to get started before they decide to grace us with their presence.
I've read so many times, that in order to become a good writer, you should write every single day. But how should I write something if I have no idea what to write about? This whole process of starting to get back into doing creative things is so tedious and hard.
I have to be consistent, which already difficult for me. But at the same time I have to let go of this shadow that tells me that nothing I will ever do will be good enough. Not good enough for me and most certainly not good enough for someone else.
Even writing these blog posts, let alone releasing them on the internet is quite a task, knowing that people will be able to judge them. But it is at least a little something.
Yesterday I went to the bookstore to get a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic". I do not think that reading it will suddenly make me feel "oh so inspired and motivated" (I'm starting to really resent those words), but that it will help me tackle my fears and work my way through this low.
How do you deal with you creativity?
What are your fears when it comes to being creative?