Creativity and the creator

If you spend enough time around creative types, you’re bound to hear the same lament: I’m a creator! Why am I not creating?

I suffer from this lament to the extreme on occasion, and while I could launch into the laundry list of reasons, real and imagined, that I don’t create even when I want to be, I want to focus here on one:

We creatives often make creating way too complicated.

Again, there are all sorts of reasons for that, both real and imagined, but the simple fact is that the act of creation is often simply a matter of doing it without concern for the outcome. Unfortunately, we often get tangled up in worrying about the outcome way before the product even exists, and the result is that the creating never gets done.

It’s easy and cliche to just claim the answer is to go create. The fact is creative types live in their heads, and all of those real and imagined obstacles to creating are real for those experiencing them. The single biggest success that any creator can have is overcoming them.

I can’t say what will work for anyone else, but I can say for myself the way over/through/around that block is often clear cut: simplify. My projects often become unmanagibly grandiose, and by letting them become so, I often can’t wrap my brain around finishing them. When I simplify them, they tend to come out, and sometimes even approach the level of grandeur I imagined.

My task going forward, then, is to simplify the approach I’m taking to what I create so that I’m actually creating. It’s a tall order even then. Here’s to doing it.

DLH

Inspiration

Fire it up!

I hate inspiration.

There, I said it.

Inspiration is an infuriating creature. It’s capricious. Fickle. Unpredictable. Unreliable. It rarely gets work done and is notorious for abandoning me right in the middle of something that needs done.

And it is indispensable to my creative process.

The fact is that every idea I’ve ever had, no matter what it is, is a child of inspiration. That relationship may be subtle, like a whisper carried on a breeze, or it may be unmistakable, like a lightning strike. Either way, inspiration births ideas and everything that comes from it.

Nevertheless, I hate it because I can’t control it. I want it to obey me and to produce on command. It laughs and disappears for days and months and years, only to return with no apparent prompting to dump a pile of ill-begotten offspring on me and disappear again.

So, it is a surprise when inspiration appears with the true intent of showing me a new thing, opening up a vista of possibility to me that had been heretofore obscured and impossible to get to.

This time, inspiration showed up in the form of an internet article about a dumpster fire toy. I know, right?

But that’s what it was. A spark that, pun intended, caught fire and burned away the dead wood that was obscuring my path to something I’ve been trying to find my way to for decades without success. Suddenly, there it is, the thing I’ve been looking for in all its glory.

A dumpster fire.

Yeah, inspiration. I hate it. And I love it.

Please don’t leave. Please come back.

DLH