500 Words

Anything “artistic” takes a lot of prep work.

Hours,

days,

years of an idea growing in your mind.

It takes commitment to achieve the vision you have for a piece.

Most artists come up with some sort of process.

It’s a way of holistically preparing themselves to create.

Processes can vary;

A coffee and two cigarettes,

a specific way to walk to the studio,

being just the right amount of hungover,

pacing around the living room until the first note comes out.

The moment right before creation is usually charged with some degree of restlessness.

When the creation begins, all that fades away.

As Kayne said,

“Don’t let me get in my zone.”

But processes don’t always work.

When it doesn’t, there’s no release.

Restlessness quickly morphs into frustration.

And if that happens enough times, the internal dialogue becomes an inquisition.

“What am I doing wrong?”

“Am I even cut out to do this?”

Those questions are usually met with the most heart wrenching responses.

“Obviously not.”

Many of us quit in those moments.

We step away.

We put down the pen,

guitar,

glove,

paintbrush.

We distance ourselves from whatever it is.

This translates to every form of creativity.

Relationships.

Conversations.

We brand ourselves as unneeded or simply in the way.

When we feel as though we aren’t getting anywhere, it’s really easy to “cut our losses.”

But that never works, does it?

Even in the midst of the most doubtful internal dialogue there’s that nagging question,

“Why can’t I just let it go?”

Every single one of my heroes has faced enormous amounts of opposition, both internally and externally.

They’ve hit the wall,

faced public ridicule,

or just dealt with the horrifying question,

“Have I peaked?”

After a certain amount of time using your process, you start to see it as some kind of magical incantation that summons the god of creativity.

It’s easy to imagine your process as the source of your ability.

But that isn’t true, is it?

When we do things for a long time and they consistently work, we stop asking questions.

That’s a very dangerous place to be in.

Essentially, we’ve assumed that we have it figured out.

So when our time,

effort,

and commitment fail to produce results, it’s devastating.

I’ve been working on this post for 10 days now and it still isn’t coming out the way I want it to.

I’ve went into work wishing I could stay home and just write.

I tried waking up early to write with a fresh brain.

Right now it’s 2:07 a.m. on Sunday and here I sit in the dim light and silence trying to write something worth reading.

Ironically, this last post in the series on Frustration has been the most frustrating.

We are all subject to Frustration.

It can come from doubt.

So on the days where you feel like you can’t tie your shoes,

remember you’ve done it before and you can do it again.

It can come from your circumstances.

So when you feel trapped in a swimming pool,

don’t push that feeling onto others.

It can come from a lack of results.

Are you still failing this semester?

Is your son still acting distant?

Is that song just not coming together?

Maybe your boss hasn’t noticed you staying late.

Or no matter what you do, the addiction is still winning.

Maybe you thought counseling and medication would have worked by now.

I want to encourage you; when you can’t seem to arrange 500 words the way you want,

keep writing.

Deep down you know you’ll never be able to just walk away.

The only way we can combat frustration is with confidence.

So today,

brush away the negativity in your own mind,

choose to appreciate what you have accomplished rather than demean yourself for what you haven’t. And then, take some time out to encourage someone else to pursue their passion.

-The Ideas Guy