My creativity intimidates me. It sounds backwards and odd when I actually write it out, but it’s true. Something that used to be my escape is now something I fear. But I don’t think it’s necessarily the creativity or the writing (in my case) themselves that incite this fear; it’s the potential for failure. In something so vast as art, there is no roadmap or specific procedure to follow in order to be certain you will be successful. It’s kind of a free for all, an open space that you can fill with what you’d like. And sometimes that scares me. What if what I write sucks? What if I put something out there only for people reject it? What if I’m super passionate about something I’ve created and it completely flops, regardless of hype I’ve tried to build among an audience?
What if none of that actually matters, but I focus on it anyway?
I’ve gotten really good at coming up with excuses to avoid writing. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I need more sleep. I’ll do it later. The idea isn’t ready yet (whatever that means). Someone has already done something like that. The list goes on…
… but excuses don’t get anything done. At all. Ever. Excuses create a life that I don’t want for myself, but it’s the life that presents itself as the easier choice. In the life of a busy person (as I’m sure all of us are), that’s a tempting choice to accept. It backfires on me, though, when that avoidance of writing becomes habit. And then, guess what? I find myself in a rut. Writing no longer fits into my life because it hasn’t been present in so long. Other things have slowly crept in and filled its time slots.
It’s put off the side, more of a figment of my imagination than a reality I see before me. It’s a ghost. It’s there, and I believe in it, but it’s nowhere to actually be found.
A rut for me means that my mental health falls into decline, too. Creativity isn’t just something I’m truly passionate about and love creating once I’m actually creating; it takes all the things that bounce around in my brain and releases them so I don’t become so overwhelmed. It takes feelings of depression and anxiety and gives them the potential to become something beautiful, or at least I’m able to translate them to the outside instead of keeping them in. But since it’s become my normal to put writing on the backburner, there is so much more clogging up my brain, and that just doesn’t work for me.
It’s not just the negative stuff that stays in my head, either. It’s the ideas, the potential good or even groundbreaking ideas, that stay there. That’s often the only place they ever get to, and that’s the problem. They are born, they live, and they die in the confines of my mind, and they don’t do anything there. They simply exist until they don’t. I want more for them than that. They can do so much more than that.
Here’s something about me: I absolutely adore the feeling inspiration.
Inspiration is my natural high, and something that can honestly make any of my days. It makes me feel something that I can only describe as good anxiety. I know that sounds completely oxymoronic, but it’s true. It’s similar to the feeling in my chest I get when I’m anxious but the positive version. T.S. Eliot once said,
“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity”,
and that’s the best way I know to describe what inspiration feels like to me. I just need to get back to translating it onto the page and seeing it before me in actual life.
Putting my creativity off, as intimidating as it is right now, usually looks something like this:
- “It’ll get done.”
- “I’ll definitely do it tomorrow.”
- “I’ll get to it.”
- “I’ll make the time eventually.”
No more. I don’t want to say these things anymore. When I’m in a rut, or putting creativity on the backburner, I’m inherently grasping for any excuse I can hold onto. I’m calling myself out and holding myself accountable. To the ideas. To the creativity. To my perspective. To myself. To my potential audience. I want to write. I need to write. No more excuses. I need to shift my viewpoint about creativity and learn to cherish it again, not fear it.
The next time I spark an idea, I’m going to open the notebook, grab a sticky note, or even pull up my notes app. Creativity is a lot like fire itself. It’s dangerous, it’s powerful, and we should respect it. But it’s also something that keeps us warm, and we need to recognize it for its purpose and its innate beauty, not its potential to burn us.
Embrace the spark.
Much Love, Quinn