An open letter to the creative souls in doubt
Dear Creative Genius (yes, I'm talking to you),
I'm sure there have been many times during your creative endeavours that you've swept something that you were once passionate about to the wayside. You didn't end up working on your blog every day like you said you would or you didn't dedicate enough time to learning that instrument.
Maybe you did make something that you were super proud of and someone pulled it to pieces or made you feel bad about it (that's fucked on their part btw), or maybe you've just never had enough motivation to actually get something off the ground.
THIS IS OKAY. These small set backs are all a part of the creative process and you're probably much more on track than you think you are. Each time you fuck something up or someone gives you some unwanted feedback you are taking steps forward in your 'creative journey'. Sounds like a wank, but it's actually a super important thing to come to terms with if you want to work in a creative field.
This American Life host, Ira Glass, created this wonderful video called 'The Gap' that will pretty much act as the only creative boost that you'll ever need again in your entire life. Basically he says that in order to be any good at anything you firstly need to be really, really shit at it and just be okay with that for a while.
Ira says that us 'creative types' all have something in common, we have good taste, that's what gets us into the business in the first place. We might share a similar sense in taste or style to our favourite author, artist or musician and just because they developed the skills to do it before we did, this doesn't mean we aren't capable of getting there too.
Ira’s video is encouraging us to push through that barrier of embarrassment that we feel when our skills aren’t matching up with our taste, because he believes that with time and some good old fashioned cliched advice, 'never give up and practice makes perfect', that we can also create content in the same sphere as our role models.
"You can be a full time artist if you are sustainable about your practice and keep putting one foot in front of the other"- Jen Cloher
Every idea that you have has the potential to lead you to something bigger. Sure, not everything is destined for greatness, but how can you know if you don’t give it a chance? I’m sure you wouldn’t plant a seed in your garden and then return the very next day to find that no flower has grown and then immediately fall into a blubbering mess, dig the whole thing up and then call it quits. You need to let your ideas grow. Give them water, time and a little TLC.
So, what's your next step Creative Genius? Just fucking do it. Give yourself a deadline. Enrol in a class. Write an article and send it to someone for publication. Record your demo and give to someone to listen to. No one can look into your brain and see all of the great ideas floating around, you have to pick them out, put a bow on it and send it out into the world.
Keep your focus narrowed in on what you want out of this all in the grand scheme of things. Even if you look back on your body of work in the future and shudder with embarrassment, that just means that future you is really damn talented.
Someone who has to watch this video every damn day.
Check out the Vimeo version here. It's got cool visuals.
Images: Daniel Sax