So many creative people sabotage themselves with the idea that they can only work when inspired when the circumstances are right. Even atheist friends spend time depressed and struggling while they wait from inspiration which they wouldn’t dare call divine yet their approach resembles it.
Creativity is a subjective process that for the last couple of centuries, since the Romantics and as materialist science has grown in status with Western artists, writers and even scientists themselves have struggled with this process.
The Romantics remain alive in the humanities, the artists and what some variously call “Bohemian”, “Lunatic Fringe”, “Hippies” and any number of derogative names.
I know, for me, it’s difficult to do something creative, seeking to make or do something interesting, different, and that most elusive something new. I confront my limitations, the void of uncertainty, ambiguity and in some ways looking death in the eyes. Sometimes it’s the opinion of others that clocks me.
It makes sense that many artists and others would wait for inspirational ideas that spark enough passion to distract from the terror of searching your soul, the universe outside and in, for variations, for collisions between experience, emotions, ideas and politics. Trial and error let too much of the latter, failure, as a method. It reminds too much of our ordinary humanity.
Some visual artists, writers, movie makers, performers are driven by all kinds of emotions and ambitions, though sometimes it is that they happily find a formula that suite themselves as the market they live in. They don’t reflect on their internal processes, on the courage needed to be creative in highly.
In contrast to this approach are those people who write professionally as novelists, scriptwriters, artists etc who sit down every day and work. People like the comedy writers working daily with the news for late night TV. And those writers, like Stephen King, produce tens of thousands of words a year of fiction. Then there are professional songwriters like Neil Sedaka, Carol King,
Burt Bacharach, and others.
The old saying goes “three-quarters of success is showing up”. As a creative person sitting with whatever tools you use for your creative work – pen & paper, musical instrument, paint & canvas, computer & software – and playing, experimenting, throwing things at each other and seeing what you get.
The mistake so many creatives suckered by the romantic ideal of inspiration make is to think that coming up with ideas, originality is hard. It isn’t. The creative flow can be continuous if you have the courage to play with the focus of a kid, the same focus you give to playing computer games or watching movies or TV, but instead exploring and experimenting in ways that let you forget to worry about appearances, the opinions of others, and create your own games and movies, novels and paintings.
It is true that passively receiving the products of other people’s creativity. It seems to be true of the majority of people that they prefer to follow. To be creative is to be a leader. Leaders communicate with metaphors that activate peoples emotions, minds and behaviours.
Creatives often don’t notice this aspect of their processes and roles because they are focused on the metaphors – the stories, images, symbols, or rebelling against them. This works for some of them while for others they need to know they are using the arts to connect with people.
This true for me. I’m wanting to touch people with my creative explorations to invite them to feel, to think and explore different frames of reference and points of view, expanding their experiences for fun and growth.