Creativity I believe is something everyone has. Through their sense of wonder, the way some individuals delicately pluck an instrument to bring out the deepest of emotions in others. Even the way an ordinary person who breathes confidence can deliver a story to their peers and have them edging off their seats. It’s the epitome of joy when one creates something magnificent from nothing but a tiny fragment that conjures up in their minds. The rockstars that have travelled generation to generation timelessly and beautifully through the screams and shouts of fans begging for more of their untainted legacy. Musicians, writers, artists, all one in the same in the lifelong journey to be more, to become more.
Sounds pretty sweet right? Well, it’s all a fucking lie. That guy plucking away at his guitar? I guarantee you he’s spent over ten thousand hours at his craft, and gave up over a hundred thousand times. That chick performing at the golden theatre delivering that climactic speech? She’s the type that gets drowned out by uninteresting conversations with her friends when she’s the one with something interesting to say. But look at her now, all eyes stuck on her and ears aching for the next words to come out of her mouth. It’s painfully magical.
Welcome to the seven immortal truths of a self proclaimed creative. Hi, I’m that self proclaimed creative. You may remember me from that time I announced I was going to write a book this year. Or the year before that? Or the year before that. Or the year before… you get the point. You guessed it, I’m a writer, or at least I think I am. I also think I come up with some pretty neat ideas. But ideas followed with no action is ultimately, still an idea. A great idea right? Wrong. It’s actually absolutely fucking worthless. Savage. Which brings me to our first immortal truth.
Feeling absolutely fucking worthless. Yeah, it’s a shitty feeling. It’s because creativity isn’t measured by a fancy piece of paper that took twenty six thousand, two hundred and eighty hours to complete. It’s measured by how you view your world and your environment around you. You can probably see now why that sucks right? The world and the environment viewed by your eyes. And your eyes only. This means that you have a duty as a self-proclaimed creative to share this view with the rest of humanity. It’s just that not everyone is going to want to listen to your view. So what do you do? Get better at your craft? Fuck no. You coil up into a foetal position in your bed wrapped around in an embracing doona while you wait out the shitty night. You wait for that full tub of frozen cookies and cream ice cream you left out on the counter to defrost into okay-to-eat-condition. Truth is, whatever your craft, you’ll face so many challenges along the way that you’ll at times, feel absolutely fucking worthless. It’s tough, don’t worry I’ve been there. About six thousand and one times. Scratch that, six thousand and two times, and counting. I’ve been exactly there, in that spiral of doona cuddling, cookies and cream crazed frenzy not knowing what the fuck to do next. Jump into my Notes app on my phone and you’ll see crumbs. That’s what I call my ideas that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet. And some legit crumbs from snacking earlier. A trail of breadcrumbs in my notes on the many ideas I’ve had throughout the years that I just hadn’t gotten around to writing yet due to a lack of motivation. There’s got to be a better way to describe this feeling of demotivation. Let’s go with… due to a lack of can’t be fucked. Lecturers and teachers and mentors will tell you that behind every high end accomplished creative, there’s thousands of hours of hard work put into their craft, but they never tell you about the hundreds of empty ice cream tubs that’s also been left behind… like a trail of breadcrumbs!
Please hold, your breadcrumbs are important to us. It really is. Once you wake up from your ice cream fueled high, and stop being sad somehow, you’ll randomly get jolts of what others call inspiration. I like to call them, euphoric highs. We’ll get to that later. Breadcrumbs are so important, because while you don’t know it at the time, on account of you literally can’t even see this sneaky bastard, you’re actually helping your future self. Take me for example. I am what society calls, a slob. I prefer the term, ‘comfortable with my environment’ but potato potato. Speaking of potatoes, it’s my unyielding love of all things potato that makes me… comfortable with my environment. And crumbs are bound to fall here and there and everywhere. Smart people call it stimuli, but it’s easier to just call it crumbs. Our brains take in so much stimuli, I mean crumbs, drawing it from the people you encounter and the environment you immerse yourself in. It’s pretty much carbs for your creative mind. Use it to your advantage and get mentally swole, and don’t let a single crumb slip away. You think Childish Gambino a.k.a Donald Glover a.k.a Troy Barnes a.k.a My Favourite Person In The World Who I Hope To Meet One Day was in the middle of making Redbone and thought to himself, ‘actually nah can’t be fucked’? You bet your ass he probably did, maybe! But he worked on it, and continued to work on it, now look at it, there’s like five thousand covers of it on YouTube. Side note, if you do check out one of the covers after reading this story, check out the one with Ceelo Green and thank me later.
Embrace failure, you might as well, it’s going to happen a lot. You thought just because you were better than everyone else at your particular thing that it’d be easy? Please. The fact that it’s your thing, makes it at least a hundred times harder. I’m at that delicate age of twenty-three now, where I’m societally a fully fledged adult and can’t really do the same things I could do when I was thirteen. Binge-watching seven hundred and fifty episodes of one of my favourite animated series isn’t considered “three months well spent” anymore. Waking up just on the cusps of dinnertime after a long night of computer gaming isn’t exactly “productive” anymore despite all the progress I saved. There’s higher expectations in play for me now. Failure is going to come around so often, that the idea of starting from ground zero becomes this fuzzy, whirly, crazy giant ball of fears and heights that you constantly brainwash yourself into thinking you can’t overcome those fears, or reach those heights. It’s so fucking pathetic, and painfully true. Because it happens to all of us self proclaimed creatives. I never thought I’d say this, but there’s just some things a bottomless tub of cookies and cream ice cream can’t fix. What people don’t realise is that you don’t necessarily start from the bottom. From the moment you began, you were never going back down to step one. Maybe like, step sixteen, or step five at least. The point is, you learn from your experiences. And the truth is, you’re probably already good at your thing. Or maybe you’re even great at your thing. Failure is as certain as death, wow that was dark. Let’s try that again. Failure is as certain as the sun rising in the AM on a beautiful, soothing day of life and love. There, that’s better. But it’s true, and what I find helps me when trying to write just the most kickass story I’ve ever written is to be aware that I most likely will fail. Sounds pretty shitty, but at least I’m loving what I’m doing. At least, I can find momentary happiness in getting to do my thing. But more on that later.
You’re your own worst critic, yeah, why do you have to be such a dick for? I’ve been writing since I was around that budding age of twelve or thirteen and by God, I wrote so fucking good. No joke. Why? Because I didn’t give a single flying shit what anyone else thought. I’d write and write until I fell asleep because I didn’t even know what a writer’s block was back then. I didn’t need to know what it was because I was doing my thing for pure ecstatic joy. That’s what happens with age. Boobs don’t just become bigger, pimples don’t just blow up only to literally blow up later on. With age you become more consciously aware, sneakily disguised in the form of insecurity. If someone in your life has said to you that, “oh I don’t care what other people think of me…”, then my friend, they just threw you the juiciest, fattest fib of the 21st century. Everyone cares what others think of them. It’s literally human nature as well as it being our biggest downfall. Especially someone they’re trying to impress, or someone they’re scared of. Usually it’s one and the same, one impressive, scary person. So what happens when you continue to age and age and you’re constantly second guessing yourself and your particular set of skills? Side note, do yourself a favour and watch the film Taken, starring the magnificently talented Liam Neeson if you haven’t already. Anyway, what happens is you ultimately become a cliche. You become your own worst critic. You really want to be remembered as a gross cliche? Make no mistake, this is your special thing. And you’re individually good at this special thing in your own crazy, fantastic way and that’s what breeds joy. Joy in something you created yourself. You. Not that four-foot-nothing sixth grader who stole the girl at the graduation dance moments after you professed your love. You.
Own your thing like you give a damn. Despite all these sad realizations that by now you would’ve had after reading some of these spicy immortal truths, there’s one fragment of good you can take out of it. Wait, billion dollar idea. Spicy Immortal Truths, the next big thing to hit the shelves, hot as hell ramen noodle cups, get it while it’s hot. Get it? The catch is it’s always hot so they can get it anytime. I’d buy the shit out of that. Anyway, that one fragment of good is the fact that you have a thing. But don’t just have it, own the fuck out of it. Some people don’t find their very own thing until they’re sixty, or ever. I was lucky enough to discover my own thing when I was a kid. The word ‘cocky’ gets thrown around and misused so often that people are too afraid to flex what they’re genuinely good at. What’s the point of being mentally swole, releasing crumbs at every stomp when you can’t even be acknowledged for your efforts? Own your thing like you give a damn. People will enjoy you for it, your loved ones will celebrate you for it. What I mean by this is, practice hard at your weapon of choice, whether it be a sexy saxophone or an iron pen. But more importantly, don’t ever be afraid to showcase your work. To showcase yourself.
Enter the euphoric high. How good are euphoric highs? How good are highs in general? Shit, I haven’t told you what it is yet. Euphoric highs in this context is that overwhelming sea of motivation and awe in one’s own crafty ability. It can happen at the strangest of times, like when you’re trying to sleep for an AM start at work the next day but your brain hasn’t shut the fuck up yet. It’s all, ‘oh shit you’re trying to sleep? Yeah you probably should. You got that big meeting and you only have five hours, thirty-six minutes of sleep and counting. Anyway, I just got an idea for a story! How about someone has super hearing but wait for it… he can only hear people talking shit about him from afar? Huh? Huh? Okay, now go write it. Laters.” As depressing as that sounds, I jumped on my computer, let out a deep sigh and started writing. And kept writing. I mean, I type fast but that night I typed really fast. Couldn’t stop in fact, the story came to me like a… like a… a euphoric high! The characters were clearer than a sunny Melbourne day, just kidding, the weather is terribly inconsistent here. But in all seriousness, it happens in all creatives. Musicians will hit that right note after five hundred and fifty-five wrong ones before it. Artists will be looking at a beige ceiling fan for five straight hours and see something they didn’t see five straight hours ago. That’s right, a juicy lamb kebab with garlic sauce because they haven’t eaten in five straight hours. That, and a different perspective than all the rest for their next juicy canvas painting.
Do the thing that makes you happy. This brings us to the seventh and final immortal truth. Yes, wipe away the tears. I know, I know, I wish there were twenty more immortal truths too. I mentioned it before, when I write, I enter a euphoric high of sensations and motivations where I just can’t stop writing. Through all the coiled up doonas, the empty ice cream tubs, what really sustains me through feeling absolutely fucking worthless is the solace, the momentary happiness that I receive and bathe in while I write. I guess that’s my best answer for why creatives do it. You’ll ask yourself, if it’s this terrible, why start it in the first place? Why continue it in the second place? Why cry about it here and be dead last and freak out about your place in the world in general? It’s strange but I guess it’s just my favourite thing to do. The best that I can do, is to just do the thing that makes me happy. It’s painfully magical.