Get to Work

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I've been experiencing a lot of writer's block lately, as exemplified by my long period of inactivity.
Inspiration is a funny thing; 
It is an essential fiber of life and human existence, 
yet it is fleeting; aloof; A sort of fabled fairy creature.
Now and then we feel her all around us, buzzing in our ears with an energy that charges our very souls, sending us off into a seemingly endless sea of creation...
And then, just as quickly she arrived, she is gone; leaving us on the open ocean in a rickety boat with no life vest. 
During these latter times, it is easy to want to quit-- 
to call in the air rescue team to come pull us off of that damned boat and get us home and into some warm clothes. 
Because being outwardly abandoned in unfamiliar territory is not comfortable for anyone. 
It can feel risky, lonely, bleak. 
But, as humans who wish to live creative lives (in whatever field or magnitude that may be), we must keep rowing that boat into the great abyss; 
Keep working, keep creating, even without that fairy of inspiration on our shoulder.
Because one day, when we are least expecting it,
she will show up again, and light up the dark sea-sky with her vivacity. 
And we must be there to catch her and use her; in fact it is our job to be there.
I loved this passage from a book I recently finished called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

"I have a friend in Italy who's an independent filmmaker. Many years ago, back when he was an angry young man, he wrote a letter to his hero, the great German director Werner Herzog. My friend poured out his heart in this letter, complaining to Herzog about how badly his career was going, how nobody liked his movies, how difficult it had become to make films in a world where nobody cares, where everything is so expensive, where there is no funding for the arts, where public tastes have run to the vulgar and the commercial.....
"Herzog wrote my friend a long reply of ferocious challenge, in which he said, more or less, this:
"'Quit your complaining. It's not the world's fault that you wanted to be an artist. It's not the world's job to enjoy the films you make, and it's certainly not the world's obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you must, but stop whining and get back to work.'"

As a person who has felt much the same way as the author's friend at times, I could appreciate this. 
If you think that Herzog's response was harsh, you aren't wrong... But it was undoubtedly true
If we have chosen to pursue paths of creativity, we must then be creative about how we will continue to grow, thrive, and remain confident in an environment where there is no certainty regarding where our next subject matter or bit of inspiration might come from. 
This creativity is not limited to "the arts," mind you. On the contrary, creative living can encompass anything which makes a person feel passionate and alive, or transcends one beyond the plane of basic human survival. 
Whether that's architecture, fashion, marine biology, painting, sport, collecting novelty Pez dispensers-- doesn't matter. Whatever makes you feel passionate and inspired, that is your art.
The world is not to blame for lulls in your inspiration, however-- 
because if you have chosen to do what you love, then it is your job to get to work with a fervency that makes the world want to love it too. 
Thus, we often find ourselves at a juncture where we must decide whether to trudge along in the absence of our fickle friend Inspiration and risk creating shit work, or take a "break" and move onto something else for an unspecified period of time until she returns for us.
While I tend to take the latter route, the correct answer is the former (if you ever hope to get anywhere in your endeavors, that is).
If we sit around waiting for Inspiration to knock down our door, we may wind up sitting for a very, very long time.
Inspiration needs fuel, a host with enough momentum to carry her, even when she becomes heavy with languor. 
The best way to call Inspiration back to us, then, is to get to work. 
Even if our work is feeling uninspired and tedious, we must do it, and do it earnestly. 
Because we never know, as we are working we may stumble across some idea or creative tangent which ignites Inspiration to return to us, that we wouldn't have discovered if we were being stagnant.
So do what you love.
Get in bed with your passions; marry them.
Stick by them for all that they're worth: 
The highs and the lows, 
the profound and the uninspired. 
Then watch, as your efforts sail you around the world.

xx, Bailey

No comments:

Post a Comment