You Are Not Creative Pt. 2

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With the rise of my blogging career (you're free to laugh at that), I've come to realize that there's little I want to discuss which does not involve creativity. It's surprisingly complicated and misunderstood. I think that's why most people either a.) give up on their dreams when they involve being creative or b.) never consider themselves "creatives" in the first place. My husband is in the latter group. 

The concept as a whole seems draped in this fake fog, which I blame the entire industry for. Just like how successful people don't like discussing their failures (thus making their road out to be easy), creatives don't like being honest about the real process of creating. We like shiny things. We like people thinking that every inch of our brain is made up of nothing but beauty and inspiration.

But you want to know the dirty secret? 

It's nothing like that.

Almost everyone I've explained my creative process to has acted shocked. Like it's a surprise that I don't pump out songs with every intense wave of emotion I feel, right in the moment I feel it, with tears in my eyes and swells in my heart, as every word rolls off my tongue like honey. 

No.

(And no, not every creative can live in the city, no matter how much they want to, because cities are expensive and art is under appreciated.)

It's more like I walk around with a notebook for months, read books and highlight anything that hits me, and sit down by myself one night, praying to God I can create anything that doesn't make me turn my nose up. 

And yes, this process has gotten easier over the years. But only because of one very important thing that nobody wants to admit:

Creativity is a muscle, and you have to exercise it. 

You have to write 100 songs, sift through them, and come out the other side with only 2 worth exploring further.

You have to fill 5 notebooks with thoughts and emotions and completely disregard them if you're lucky enough for inspiration to strike. 

Because just like you can't wait to be motivated to do work, you can't wait for "inspiration" to create. Inspiration is a fickle, passionate lover. And if we know anything about those kinds of lovers, it's that they're unreliable. 

And if we wait, we get stale. We get cold, depressed, and no longer feel as deeply as we did. Because humans are supposed to create without motivation, and some of us are acutely aware of that. We've seen parents and friends settle into lives and jobs they never wanted in the first place, and we use that as our inspiration, because we know that no matter how bad the stale moments get, it's sure as hell better than the alternative. 

The moments you slam your head against your keyboard, not able to find a single word in the wasteland that is your brain? Worth it.

The spiel you've pieced together over the last three holidays to explain to family members "what you do with your time"? Worth it. 

Every cold, winter night you've driven home from a photoshoot, gig, or coffee shop (where all you can afford is the small coffee), with only $20 to show for your time, and are so exhausted you can't even cry? Worth it.  

The moment you're on the floor, surrounded by papers, with nothing to show for your 3 hours of songwriting? ...Worth it. (I have to convince myself of this one sometimes.)

So no, we are not professional creatives because we have a God-ordained gift that is only given to the chose ones. We are professional creatives because we've had the stamina to push through the bad moments, when others gave up.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it's this:

Don't rely on inspiration, it'll fail you ever time. Rely on your human need, it will always be there.