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.

Feeding The Crazy //Columbus > Atlanta//

If I have learned anything over my (nearly) 21 years of life, it's that the best way to stay sane, is to not fight the crazy. Everyone has some extent of crazy in their minds and the human race is obsessed with surprising it.

But me? I feed it. 

Welcome to my world. A world where weeks of emotional crisis don't mean staying home, but day trips, loud music, and exploring places you probably shouldn't be. 

(Un)Lucky for me, I live in Atlanta, my best friend lives in Columbus. So when the crazies come crashing in, or I have weeks of confusion and doubt, there is nothing better than a long, mindless drive to my best friend and her cats. 

I usually listen to whatever gets me through traffic on the way there, but my drive back is a sacred time with a history of great ideas and entire songs being written. This is the soundtrack I have accumulated over the last year of this ritual. And yes yes, I know that the entire thing sandwiches most of The 1975's albums, but it just isn't a Columbus drive without their brutally honest lyrics. 

I challenge you to feed the crazy a bit in the coming weeks. Pick a destination about two hours away, go explore, and drive back after dark with this playlist playing. It's amazing how much clarity you can gain. 

 

Playlist:

COLUMBUS > ATLANTA

Keeping the Chains Away

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From a young age I was taken around the country with my parents. I don’t just mean week long family ventures either. I mean permanent moves, three day long road trips to see family, last minute excursions to the other side of the country to some body of water I would later forget I’d ever been to, and many more. Yes, my father was in the air force for a while, and that is still the reason I give people for all the excisions, but it was so much more complicated than that. 

I was homeschooled, and yes we were a Christian family, but that was only one reason my mom made that decision. From the beginning she had a vision of how our curriculum was going to be built and how our travels were going to teach us more than a classroom ever would. I can hardly go a day without feeling deep gratitude for that woman’s bold decision. 

 

So we traveled. We were not a rich family, yet there was almost never a year we didn’t go somewhere new. As time went on and we all got older, DC became Toronto, and the Great Lakes became England.

I grew up learning that meeting new people was better than any material possession. That each new story you hear and culture you are exposed to is like a gem around your neck, and a piece of gold in your memories.

I didn’t even care about all of the moves until I got older and realized that social dynamics were very different after middle school, and that being the “new kid” wasn't necessarily a positive thing anymore. 

But I’ve come to realize this: Traveling kept the chains away.

The shackles that tie themselves around people’s thoughts never even existed to me. I’ve never had any judgment toward people. I have never had to get up the courage to do something new, because I was literally nurtured to thrive off of it. I have never struggled with empathy. I am always genuinely interested in what people have to say. I love to learn both from books and life. I am expressive in multiple forms of art and never hesitate with it.

Even though this lifestyle did breed other issues in me (we all have them thanks to that whole humanity thing), I would much rather work through those than more fundamental things that are the reason I am who I am.

So I beg you, travel. It’s never too late to chase the chains away. 

Let cold air hit your face in the middle of July.

Let sand burn your feet.

Embrace 9-hour flights, then embrace the 5 hour road trip, know there is no stop in-between.

Learn to fit your entire life into a carryon.

Learn to find time and rest alone, in the corner of the terminal, with thousands of strangers buzzing around you.

And please, I beg you, if you have them, let your kids learn with you.

Where will you go?