the creative proces
My sister Lacey is a songwriter and a musician. I am an aspiring author.
A few days ago we talked about the creative process - though what we do is so different, the process is very similar. What a lot of people don't understand, at least those who are not the creative sort, is that creating something is difficult. It's not just that our brains are wired that way, it is actually very hard work. You hear stories about people writing a best-seller in a week, or a perfect song coming out on the first try, music and lyrics connecting ball and socket. But more often than not, that is not how it works.
We work even when we are not inspired - in fact, especially when we are not inspired, because inspiration can't last forever, and rarely comes at all. We write not when we have time, but when we don't because it is then that you feel the pressure to actually do it and make it count. Also, if we don't there's no accounting for our time. Sometimes when I don't write I look back on my week and wonder what I even did. It's the only evidence - proof that I was here, that I lived that week, that I did anything at all.
I don't always enjoy writing, but, like Gretchen Rubin said, "I enjoy having written." There is a huge difference. I've told people that and they wonder why I do it then, if it I don't enjoy it. The thing is, it is work just like anything else. A professional violinist, or soccer player, or fashion designer will tell you the same thing. Sure, you love it - but it's still work. It's just work you love. Work you love having finished.
I never stop writing. When I drive in my car I think about my characters. I analyze their personalities, their fears, their motivations. I take any snippet of inspiration I can and put it in my phone. If you were to look through my notes you would find random pieces like, "Mercenary," "Vulnerability in chaos," and, "Lemon and Gingersnap casserole." (Don't ask.)
The thing is I guess, is that it's important that we create. It's necessary. Yeah, it might not go anywhere. My words are trapped in this computer of mine, and my sister jokes that most of her songs go under her bed. But we still made it, and that's what matters. We still gave it life - we still tried.
There are a lot of other things to do with our time. I'm learning that doing what I love is better than doing what I love doing.