The Fear of Lack of Creative Pretension
As an amateur/budding/interest driven/any type of writer or creator who is in the early phases of wanting to test their passions and creative abilities out, often times we’re daunted and overwhelmed. This is not just by the success or proficiency of the experts or the intermediates. Nor is it just by their work’s quality or the speed with which they churn our new content. Thanks to social media allowing us to share our daily live, it can just as often be, by observing their interests, hobbies, personal time or preferences.
Let me take you on a ride: Say you are a budding writer. You work on writing posts about human nature and relationships because they come naturally to you. As a person of the internet and also because you want to learn more, you follow a set of writers in the same arena. Scrolling through their social media you suddenly see that one of them reads the works of Murakami. For fun. Now here’s the thing: You don’t really enjoy the works. You’ve tried it, it’s beautiful and amazing but just not something for you. So you respectfully walk away from the books. Now the trouble is your preferred writing influencer does read these books.
In this juncture you can go one of two ways:
- The Pretension Worry route: You label your influencer’s interest in the works as pretentious, whilst realising that you are not ‘pretentious enough’. While you’re sticking this label you start to wonder the validity of your own work and potential. ‘If i can’t even enjoy Murakami and read it for leisure, do I even deserve to be a writer of the human emotion?’. Your insides are dying from your own complexes. The writer in you is silently retreating back to the pavilion without having ever come to the crease. AKA: another addition to your ‘Why I can’t be a writer’ List.
- The It’s-Okay route: Now if you’re the self assured and confident kinds (aka nothing like me), you will be respectful of your influencer’s choice. Maybe you give the great work another shot. Or maybe you just resign to the fact that this is not for you, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to work on your writing. A mind like that knows that neither the influencer, the illustrious writer or they themselves are undisputed authorities of the subject in question. Knowledge is ever evolving in every discipline and the human emotion is far beyond conquest.
Here’s the thing: you hope to use the second route, but ever so often end up spiralling and barreling down the first one. You’re worried that if you’re not good enough to appreciate the bests, how can you ever be the best.
And this is an all pervading feeling across creative dimensions. Writers, artists, musicians, film makers. We’re all being peer pressured into ‘loving and respecting’ the classics.
What we often forget are these two things:
- Appreciation for art is subjective: As much as we would love for all 7 billion (and counting) people on this planet to be our fans and lovers, it’s a fat chance. No two people have the same opinion about cheddar cheese! Can we really expect that for works of art. And if the opinions for the greats aren’t consistent, what have we got to lose except the shot at trying? You may not enjoy art house films, but that doesn’t mean you’re an awful film maker. Maybe you enjoy light fare and that’s just as wonderful! Where would we be without all the comedies in the world? And the vice versa is true too!
- Ahead of times: Often times a lot of times several of the greats, were considered to be too forward. They were under-appreciated and even criticised in their times. Today with the benefit of hindsight, evolution, technology and most importantly, the passage of time, the situation is different. Several greats are not just appreciated, they are reverred and have become benchmarks for art (which if you observe spirals back to point 1, how can a subjective area have a benchmark?). Maybe you’re just ahead of your time too. Thankfully today, in all likelihood, you won’t be punished as harshly for trying and keeping at your work.
The point I’m making here is simple: Pretension is an unfortunate label that often now, we give to things we are scared of/cannot appreciate as well as others, because they seem to be some sort of prerequisites to being someone you want to be. There are no prerequisites to where you want to go and what you want to be. Especially not creatively. If the corporate world has started to accept people crossing over to other specialisations, why make the creative world so rigid in your mind!
There are all sorts of stories and all sorts of languages and tones to share them in. Your own is unique and so are your preferences. Neither makes you a good or bad creative. It just makes you creative. You need only pick up your creative hat and just do what you are supposed to do. As i often like to say (Just kidding, I just started saying this because I altered this quote while writing this post):
‘No amount of money brought a dead man back and no amount of fear ever made an alive one, live a dream!’