Please Kill Me,
I think that I may be in some pretty steep denial. For any of you creatives out there, fortunate enough to support yourself with your craft, you may share the same feeling.
There’s no doubt that something about working from home (initially) presents itself with a certain allure.
We think: “Holy SH!T!!! No more clock to punch!”
…followed by a small parade (naked?) up and down whatever street our former place of employ occupies (#Words). Me? I flew my parade across the country and set-up shop–mostly funded by my imagination (and some well-timed luck).
The excitement, though palpable, leaves us shortly afterward. With no clock to punch or semi-authority to hover over our every (bowel) movement, we are essentially freed from the silent struggle of the socio-economically compliant.
We become something different.
We become (Batman?) the purest versions of ourselves–informed only by the past that we’ve experienced–with that, we’re asked to create (and/or fail miserably… #Don’tLookAtMeLikeThat #YouWereThinkingItToo).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much on the fence about which life is better (i.e. easier) but, I think, that the question of which avenue is more fulfilling is a moot one–little case can be made for it.
At the end of the day, you’ll find infinitely more satisfaction in the exploration of your mind/world/universe/(private parts?) than you will behind a register… Unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing. If that’s the case, then have at it (though, I wonder what brings you here).
The problem comes, however, when the natural excitement of navigating your way off the grid dies down and you’re left with exactly what you’ve started with–yourself.
This is where things get sticky.
If you’re a newly freed creative you’ll find that much of your time (in the beginning) will be dedicated to setting a schedule, creating rituals, crafting methods, searching the internet, doing naughty things (on the aformentioned internet), watching television, returning to the naughty things on the internet…
Eventually, you’ll round out a schedule that will both enable you to get your work done, as well as (generally) allow your perpetual freedom.
Once you get going, (and, if everything goes well) you’ll find yourself coasting for a fair amount of time–likely drawing from your past experiences, emotions, thoughts, (sleepless nights wondering what the president will do next), etc.
*Fast Foward A Few Years*
The well runs dry. You’ve exhausted everything that you know, feel, think, and are left with the chore of creating, yet another, concentrated dose of yourself (in your medium of choice).
If you’re like me, you’ll likely muscle through all that you can (whether by choice or obligation…#DebtIsReal) until your brain short-circuits.
This short-circuit is where the denial comes in.
I may be reaching, but hear me out.
How I define “short-circuit” is based on the minds’ inability to create. Sure, you can hack your way through a few projects, you may even find that you’ve (accidentally?) plagiarized yourself. When it’s all said and done, one truth remains…
Stalling is different from any kind of creative block, in that, you CAN still create, however, the inspiration is either, gone, faded, or entirely nonexistent.
You become a husk of your former self–still optimal–but missing a sense of purpose and direction.
The denial comes from not accepting that fact.
*If you can’t accept that something’s wrong, then you’ll never seek the solution.*
The solution, like everything, begins with a truth. This truth is a simple one (if not, then equally hard to swallow). That old version of you is dead.
The you that began this journey was the undeniable result of societal influence, pressure, and operations. If we understand ourselves as products of the system that we were born into, then we gain insight into our early artistic inspirations and (by proxy) ourselves as artists.
When we’re plucked from this system, our connection to it is diluted over time. If you’re lucky, you’ll find that you can mine what remains of the system until, soon enough, you don’t know it all.
It’s here that we’re given a choice.
We can either:
A.) Retread old waters or B.) Find a new place to swim.
You’ll find that the results aren’t as clear-cut as you would expect. As a matter of fact, some authors (many) have found great success revisiting their own tropes, arcs, characters, narratives, etc. Sometimes, it’s essential.
But, I’m not talking about them. Nor am I referring to any future success that you might find enacting that practice.
I’m talking to the You of today.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’ve experienced (or are experiencing) a version of this dilemma. On one hand, you want to keep the streak alive. On the other, you know that to do so will require more of you than anything you’ve done in the past.
It will require you to seek the inspiration that was once so freely given.
It will require you to refill your own well.
As Black Scooby-Doo would say: “Rhat rhit rary.”
(*Note: If you got that joke, I love you. Please move in with me.*)
Though it is a scary thing, it’s necessary (at least for me).
I believe that every artist has an insatiable desire to push beyond their known boundaries. I also believe that people are lazy. Sometimes, it can be hard to seek new ground to conquer when the domestic land has been so prosperous.
Even when that land turns barren.
WE MUST PERSIST!
It’s important, especially for the homebodies, to escape the confines of self-imposed exile. As essential to our minds, bodies, and craft as everything that’s come before is, it’s all in vain if we aren’t open to what else is out there.
Do you really want to spin in circles for the rest of your career? Or, like me, would you rather test the limits of the optional road ahead of you?
*How much we’re willing to experience is directly proportionate to how much we can ultimately create.*
So, do yourself a favor. Go outside today and every day afterward. Absorb all that you can and thus, the well will be refilled.
Until Next Time,