Creative work takes effort - not only the skills of our trade but the internal, resilience-building process of becoming who we really are. It is one thing to fail against someone else's expectations; it's an entirely different experience to fail against your own ambitions. You need to keep creating and failing until what you make reflects you, an authentic person. Then your craft becomes whole-hearted play. Ira Glass describes this process best:
"For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you." Ira Glass, "On Storytelling"
When I chose an authentic, creative life, the path of making is the path of becoming. It is not about the art. It's about me. I have a dream, something has taken root in my soul, and my craft is the medium. The gap between my taste and my ambition that Mr. Glass talks about is my path to walk, and it is bigger that my small mind in a fleeting moment of disappointment.
When I want to quit, I remember that I am near a break-though. I fight though it. I try to remember to fail flamboyantly.
It is difficult for me to mess up. If I am drawing, and I make a mistake, I have been known to throw out the entire piece. Crumple it up and toss it. Now I wonder, if I leave the mistake, what is possible? Setting aside my discomfort - or even allowing myself to be inside of it - can I turn this line into something delightful?
This is not about my drawing anymore. Now, the creative process becomes a puzzle and challenge. I can choose not to run away, hide, or toss it away. It is an opportunity for me to get big and brave and make something more honest and beautiful. Fleeting moments of despair can transform into a lifetime of authentic bravery.
We can talk about the fear, or what creative work is really about, but the path does not walk itself. Mr. Glass' point is that we need to keep creating and making stuff and persist through it personally and creatively. There is no substitute for showing up and getting it done, waking up the next day to keep on keepin' on.
Wise Words for Today
“You'll hit gold more often if you simply try out a lot of things.” Ira Glass
There is no way around it, you simply have to #DoTheWork.