Happy Palindrome Week!
Writing is hard. As an adult, creating has become more difficult for me than consuming. Maybe there is something there because of the pressure I put on the product I create. I want to be able to naturally create things that are as good as the professionally made things I am consuming. Even the tv shows and books that my friends and I mock for being poorly written are worse that what I can create.
Yesterday I was listening to the Playdate with Sarah Jones podcast (consuming) and she had Sharon Salzberg on. Sharon was talking about how every soul is creative. Period. But we have moved out of our childhood selves where creating for its own act was all we cared about (anyone remember mud pies?).
As an adult, that creative product now has to become something. In the very early stages, often even the idea stage, I are thinking about what it will become. Or what it should become. That’s where I start second guessing myself. Where I force the product into the wrapping I are seeing it. The wrapping that will be the most attractive. It becomes a thing I must create to please others and not something I are creating, because creating feels good.
I did it in my head at the beginning of the last paragraph, wondering if this should be a blog post. I know that if I do, I will edit it, and change it, and make it more palatable. And that is fine. But first, I must create it. I must write it. I must allow myself not to edit or worry about how it is going to look in the end. Because that is not the current goal. The goal right now is to write. Because writing is hard.
Expressing myself on paper in words, in a way that is a close to the manifestation and meaning of what is in my head, and conveying in a manner that actually gets that idea out is difficult. Even just that sentence was hard. For most of us, the thing that we want to say cannot be fully expressed in simple words. That is the accomplishment of great writers. I believe they don’t feel they accomplish that, they just get far closer than us mere mortals.
The imagery that an idea in our head is a beautifully perfect amethyst butterfly, that may be adored, but then must be completely destroyed so that we might be able to sweep up some of the dust and create a paper and ink and off-kiltered butterfly of a real thing, is attributed to Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s like a drawing in kindergarten, if we achieved something more than a stick figure the hands of a man would look like mickey mouse gloves, and the hair like Sia’s.
As children we were ok with that, but as adults we only compare the poor replica of the real thing to the image in our heads. When we do this before we have even begun, the job of creating and writing is nearly insurmountable. That first step is monstrously high -because we know we aren’t children. We know it will be judged, and thus we will be judged in turn. We want to protect ourselves from this judgement and thus we often don’t start the project. Or if we do start it, we don’t tell many people about it, and when it disappoints us with the comparative, we stop lose interest in it before it goes too far.
At the beginning of the year I often set a word or phrase up to help me focus for the upcoming 265 days. This years was “Create & Edit”.
Well I’m editing that now. For the first ½ of this year I have done some creating and some editing, but often it was a simultaneous process that I have been struggling with. So, time to change it. Now the goal is simply to Create. Create for the sake of creating. Write and express, and make.
Editing will come. Naturally as the desire to share the creations come, editing will happen. And if it doesn’t that’s ok. If nothing comes from the creation, it was worth it for its own existence/process. So, during a set of 10 days when the date is the same either way you read it, I’m flipping thing around and approaching it another way.