I will be honest with you and say that I really don’t feel much like writing right now. The words don’t seem to flow as freely from my brain to my hands as I would like them to. My mind seems a bit cluttered, foggy somehow, even though I feel really well today. Motivation and inspiration are not what have pushed me to sit down and try to piece together a blog entry, rather a constantly evolving work ethic. I am trying my best to find the delicate balance between underestimating my own capabilities and thinking myself some sort of superhuman who is expected to do everything perfectly. I’m slowly learning how to gently nudge myself to do things that I actually have the strength and ability to do, if I simply give it a try. And if I am willing to accept that it may not be my best work, and that this is OK.
Like I mentioned in my previous post Trying new things when you’re scared of, well, everything, I often (if not always) make the mistake of trying to channel my creativity in a way that comes out as perfection, and blaming myself when it, inevitably, doesn’t. This only makes me more wary to pick up a guitar or a paint brush (or whatever the tool may be) again, because I instantly connect the creative process with feelings of shame and inadequacy. And if I don’t consciously keep an eye on what is happening, soon it’ll have been months where I have not used any of my creative skills, trying to justify this to myself as me simply lacking inspiration.
But what is inspiration, really? For me, I would describe inspiration as my mind just working really well, really smoothly. More or less the opposite of how it is working right now. Sometimes inspiration hits me in the middle of the night or suddenly, completely out of the blue, forcing me to drop everything to run to my computer and record some lyrics that came to me. But I don’t think this is the only type of inspiration there is. I actually do believe that you can ‘force’ inspiration. Well, maybe force is a bit aggressive, but to me it seems like it’s all just a matter of taking the pressure of perfection away, and just allowing, or even nudging yourself to create things, sometimes even on days where you don’t feel particularly inspired or creative.
Even as I sit right now, typing this out, I am beginning to feel some sort of inspiration. My mind isn’t running smoothly, and I have a hard time comprehending what I am even writing (depression and anxiety can really affect your cognitive functions), but it isn’t particularly hard for me to get these sentences out of my mind and onto the screen. Ideas are coming to me rapidly, and all I have to do is try my best to shape them into sentences that make sense. What was hard for me was actually deciding to give this a shot, deciding to fight against my mind telling me that it won’t be any good unless I am intensely motivated and inspired to write.
I know the points I am making here probably won’t apply to everyone, as people naturally are different. I’ve always, always, always been a person driven by creativity. Music, art, writing, acting, all that jazz. That’s always come to me pretty naturally. But the thing is that when you take your art as seriously as I do, when you’re really passionate about it… sometimes it does feel like work. Sometimes it is work, as a matter of fact. So I feel that this whole post is more about how to keep working, when you feel like motivation and inspiration are visiting less often than they used to.
To sum up, I guess the main points I am trying to make are these: even if you don’t feel like you have anything interesting to write, or paint, or whatever you are pursuing… maybe give it a shot anyway? I will admit, some days nothing works, and everything I write is downright bad and my head hurts and there is no point in trying to keep going, because the finished product is just not worth it. But some days, like today, I feel like I would rather do anything else than try to write something, and yet I encourage myself to try anyway, and it actually goes OK. As long as you’re not expecting perfection (which you really shouldn’t be), you will probably do well.
Honestly, writing this post has been a fun experience. As I’m sitting here trying to write an ending, I am honestly kind of terrified to read the entire thing from start to finish, because my mind is somewhere else completely, and I am afraid it shows. But I really want to prove to myself and everyone else that I can keep up this blog, and that my work ethic is strong, even if my cognitive functions aren’t. I just read everything I’ve written, and I absolutely cannot make any sense of it. I hope you can.