All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Notes About Creativity

Call it an educated guess, but to the outside world, us creative types must look like magicians. We can take something simple like paint or charcoal and capture emotions with them. By merely touching the keys of a keyboard or a piano, we create - seemingly out of thin air - these compositions that can move something deep inside our being. To the unknowing, this is more than just making something, this must be sorcery. And yet, here we are, plucking the strings of a guitar or singing words in a certain way and things just happen. Magic indeed!

Well, to creatives and non-creatives alike, let me reveal another little secret: It's exhausting.

The thing about creativity that often gets overlooked is that its magical properties come at a price. Writing a story or a song is indeed a joy, just like any labor of love, but often we overlook the labor part. It can be very intensive work, and while I have never seen a author break a sweat while writing their manuscript, under the surface they are flexing all their intellectual and inspirational muscles full-time. The work that goes into music, poetry, painting, and so forth is the deep current flowing under still waters, and it comes at a price. People might not see how mentally sore the creative type is after finishing their masterpiece, but it's there, and it can be depleting.

Sometimes, to charge my creative batteries, I watch other people engage in their own creative processes. I'll click on a stream and watch someone play music for a while (this is much better to do live, but, well, COVID). Some streamers paint, others sing, some just engage in elaborate discussions about life, the universe, and everything. This is all very enjoyable, but I make sure to take a timeout to appreciate how this person is working when they do what they do, and that it comes at a price. 

There's a saying that if your job is something you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life. I offer a counterpoint that if you do what you enjoy as work, sometimes you will have to do what you enjoy when you are too tired to do it, which takes the enjoyment away very quickly. Ask any writer who does freelance assignments about that constant level of enjoyment, and they will likely tell you that sometimes writing can be particularly draining because it's an assignment, not a joy. 

My point in all this ultimately rolls back to a matter of appreciation. To the non-creatives, it can be so valuable to just tell a musician or a writer how a song or a story moved you, or how mystical it seems for them to create, with such simple ingredients, a complex piece of work. Recognition is like emotional nourishment, and sometimes the simplest words of admiration can be a full meal to those who created the piece.

To the creatives out there, well, obviously, the same thing goes about appreciation. However, the more important point is to occasionally give yourself a chance to breathe in the miracle that is your talent. You possess a strange alchemy that allows you to turn everyday words, sounds and colors into gold - embrace this. And sometimes, embracing this means giving yourself a chance to just say, "I'm tired. I need to charge my batteries. I will create something tomorrow but for today, I will just watch others be beautiful." As a creative-type, you've earned it.

And to the streaming community out there and the energy you pour into your work, understand that it is appreciated. You may not hear it that often, but it's still true.

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