Creatives don’t get embarassed

Don't look at it. The pool was cold.

Being a true creative takes consistent courage. The courage of curiosity…of untethering the boat from the moor and seeing what lies in the confines of your brain and imagination. It means risking sinking into the darkness of the mind to find the light of your product.

Creating is floating free in a brainstorm and seeing what you find. Hardest of all maybe is letting go and accepting all the imperfections that come from you.

Hemingway: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

You harvest the good stuff, not caring that there was so much rubbish churned up in the process. Limiting the flow, editing your thoughts before they emerge into a whole is like getting in your boat with a plan but never casting off.

Boats were not meant to stay in the harbor.

If you want to create something you’ve got to cast off and see how your ideas float in the tumultuous waters of the real world. Limiting yourself is a fearful practice, a practice of no true creative.

To have discipline, training yourself almost like an animal, while fostering the creativity and imagination of being human is one of the grand struggles of humanity.

And creatives are the ones who step up to face this challenge. 

Creatives don’t get embarrassed.

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And the topless writing begins…now.

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I sit here, typing in front of my computer, sans shirt. Bare, beautiful, and cold. The Midwest has been downright unhealthy chilly the past few weeks. So why am I topless? I thought it was time to get some writing done. I thought it was time to be more productive.

Oftentimes my problem is finding focus, so I thought that it was time for some external motivators. No, not the carrot. But the stick. Sometimes we need it. I know that the best motivation comes from within, but sometimes we need some unpleasant consequences from our environment to help us along. Negative stimuli. And what’s a more natural negative motivator to prevent distraction than the cold? So…

No clothes until I’m done.

Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. That long journey to that high peak where our goal sits is daunting when we think about it. As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I was staring at the blank, white page. Unable to take that first step. Nothing. I was obsessed with the peak, imagining the finished product. And I distracted myself. Would it be good? Would it be good enough? I wanted it to be perfect, but there was nothing there yet to perfect!

In the creative arts, we need to let the expression flow, and thinking is counterproductive to opening up our imagination.

I’m cold right now. But I am writing fast. The distraction was part of my problem. The other is my inability to produce things quickly. And in this day and age, well, in any day, efficiency makes you a pro. But especially today, in the midst of a thousand, a million, a billion voices clamoring around you, it’s pretty damn important.

The alternative to efficiency gets you a hobby. And that can be good. But making good art takes time and practice and not only getting people interested, but keeping them interested. And interest in today’s onslaught of data and media is a fleeting commodity. I want to sharpen that saw of skill before I’m too old to enjoy its fruits.

The same distraction from becoming a pro can be at play with an intellectual pursuit. Going to school to get that degree is going to take two, four, maybe six years. Too long a time. I’m too busy. I’m too old. These are distractions. When Raymond told the gun-toting Tyler he didn’t become a veterinarian because it was “Too much school” Tyler’s response was…

raymond

“Would you rather be dead?”

I’d rather just not be cold. So, here I sit, cold, banging out these sentences the fasted I’ve ever typed. And it’s working. Because I’m not distracted by my cat. I’m not falling for that hunger pang and running to the kitchen for “just a quick snack.” I’m not thinking, “Maybe my bathtub needs cleaned?” (I’m sure it does). I’m not worried about whether this will be good. About whether you will like it. I’m only producing.

And when you’re producing, you don’t think about what others want. And you don’t think about yourself. You are in the moment.

When we’re in the moment, we are genuine. We produce the best stuff. The truest stuff. The stuff people will love. Maybe not everyone. Probably not, actually. But who wants to produce the stuff that’s already been done? We’re here to capture people’s interest. And ultimately, we’re here to get some love. And part of being loved is making something other people value.

I hope that some day my writing will be valued by enough people that it makes the world a better place.

A warmer place.
Man, it’s cold.
But I think I’m done. And in record time.
Now, where did I throw my sweatshirt?

The summer smells good

The intoxicating smell of comfortable warmth and movement and change. Of sun rays beating down, of future acts, exciting unknowns, shirtless, of liberation from consumption by creation. It smelled of possibilities.

I stopped thinking of what I had to do today. The urgent stuff that wasn’t truly urgent. I sat down and embraced this small area where I would bang out my 1000 words for the day. This would be my bunker. I put the thoughts of everything else out of my head. I willfully -albeit with quiet kicking and screaming- entered this solitary confinement. In this quiet, I stopped holding. The energy of my thoughts moved onto the digital canvas. I knew I hadn’t moved, but I was changing things. What had not existed, now did. People acting, realizing, feeling, and growing. My characters and I took turns leading. When the words were spent, I emerged from the dark cramped environment. I felt liberated. I immediately thought ahead: I must go here, and check this to buy, and then go here and have them fix this, and then I need to go the gym, and then…and then.

And then I stopped the planning. and just as I had when I crawled into my foxhole, I started thinking, “What if?” I started thinking, “Let’s see what happens.” Because life isn’t a series of situations. Life is what I choose. It’s what I create. And my creation started off quite well today.

The summer smells good.