I feel the need to preface this post:
Stick with this one to the end - it's a journey. I was writing and working things out at the same time; with the power of hindsight and self-awareness, I don't necessarily agree with everything I've written. But I'm keeping it all here just the same, and once you read it all, I think you'll see why. I think the stream-o'-consciousness blathering actually helps my final points.
Without further ado:
You have the same hours in a day as Leonardo Da Vinci
That statement is supposed to make you feel like anything is possible with the limited time we have on earth; the greatest of minds toiled away with only 24 hours in a day - you can achieve great things too with only that much time!
It does not make me feel that way. My gut reaction to that statement is first - shame that I'm not doing more with my time, second - anger at the person who said it for trying to reassure me with a fucking goddamn stupid easy-to-say dumbass platitude.
It don't like platitudes. They're ways for people to communicate a "deep" idea without putting any real thought into it.
I think the main reason this particular saying bugs me is because I do have plenty of time to do a wide variety of fun creative shit with. Even with one part time job and working on getting a second so I can have that sweet sweet dough while making my way as an artist, I still have a sizable chunk of time that I can mold with as I please.
Except I don't. Because a lack of energy is a very real thing, and nothing kills my creative snowflake of a spirit more than a lack of energy.
You need to get motivated! Learn what makes you tick, find your pa-
Stop. Stop right there. Shut your fucking goddamn mouth.
I used to blame a lack of motivation for my not seizing creative opportunities, but then I realized... no. I'm plenty motivated. That's a lot of goddamn bullshit, I don't need more motivation, more desire; I may be the sort of person who keeps his cards close to his chest, but that doesn't mean I don't have ambitions. I can start projects and see them through to the end - that's motivation; maybe even discipline.
No, what I need is energy.
Let me specify a little bit more.
When I'm "in the flow of it" - writing like a mofo, acting like a boss, whatever I'm doing - I have a seemingly endless supply of energy to pull from. It's like ideas are showing up right next to my shoulder; I'm reaching at them with a grabby hand and crushing it until I have made the idea my bitch. "In the zone" Drew is best Drew.
I have problems getting "in the zone" is what I'm trying to say. Acting warmups are supposed to get me in the zone, but there have been days when, no matter how many vocal and physical exercises I do, I'm still stuck in my head and I don't produce anything I feel proud of. Over time, I've gotten better about learning to turn on my creative juices when I'm not in the mood, but some days I just can't do it.
Oh boy, this is going to be a very complainy first-world-problems sorta blog post isn't it? Alas.
Okay, but -
SHUT THE FUCK UP, HEADERS
Focus, concentration, willpower... all that shit takes energy. Energy which seems to deplete too damn quickly by the time I'm finally ready to tackle one of my zillion projects I keep coming up with because while I can say "no" to other people, saying "no" to my own brain is a lot harder.
I have no stamina, no endurance. It's the same for me doing physical exercise as it is when I'm trying to write. I peter out really quickly. I know I said a few paragraphs above that I can sometimes have bottomless energy, but that is when I'm "in the zone". When I'm not there, I still will sometimes try and tackle a project or two because I have the time and I will feel bad about myself if I don't - I hope the act of just working on stuff I like will somehow awaken the all important "zone of awesome creativity shenanigans," but that is a fickle mistress. I burn out quick.
I burn out too damn easily I don't know how to fix that about myself - it's really frustrating. Some people can burn the candle at both ends for a stretch of time and then rest. Some people can handle a moderately stressful routine for a few days before resting for a few, then jumping back in - cycle cycle cycle.
I am bad with both of these. For every two awesome, super-productive, I-am-doing-alla-the-shit days, I need one day of doing as near to squat-diddly that I can humanly manage without being disgusted with myself. Sometimes it feels like I need more days of rest than that. It's not an exact science, but my point is that I wear out too fast to build up any sort of creative momentum, both in the micro minute-to-minute and in the macro day-to-day.
Monday - I rock that shit. I am writing, I am auditioning, I am building my career, everything is awesome.
Tuesday - Not as strong, but I get shit done.
Wednesday - kill me.
And then the rest of my week is blown because for some reason I mandate starting again on Mondays.
It's not like I'm a completely unproductive slug on days when I "don't feel it;" I still deal with the regular adulting stuff that needs to be trimmed down every day like the world's fastest growing hedge. But my creative stuff is the stuff that languishes, and ultimately, that's the stuff I care the most about, more than the necessities of, you know, paying rent.
Wow. Okay. This is a large chunk of ranty crap that's not going to be tied up in a neat bow unless I steer things in a different direction. Apologies.
What is this post about, then?
The first section of this post was "fuck traditional advice," but that's not what the whole shebang is about.
The second was about motivation, but again not the whole thing.
The third and fourth were variations on ideas about energy and what I find so personally frustrating about it as a creative person.
This last little bit is me trying to say something mildly insightful, bringing the rant level dial down from a 99 to a 20 and cranking that Sappy Drew dial way the hell up.
I think what this post is about is excuses.
And I have a lot of them. At least a thousand words worth. Look at all that shit I wrote. LOOK AT IT.
I was about to make a statement about "Us as creative people," speaking for the general mass of creatives, but no - that would do a massive disservice.
Many people have given advice to me about "being creative" because it's what "creative people go through" - I find that general advice supremely unhelpful. I find it more helpful if that person specifies using what works or doesn't for themselves or a specific individual - I can glean more from specifics even if I don't share much in common with it.
So I'm not going to talk about the "great unwashed creative masses". I'm going to make a statement or two (or five or six, but who's counting?) about myself.
I make a lot of excuses. Excuses as to why I'm not living every moment to my artistic potential. Time, motivation, energy, passion, confidence, connections, money, personal experiences, discipline, physicality, training and on and on - excuses about what I supposedly (or actually) lack. Excuses that make me feel bad for making them.
So without any sort of excuses I'll ask myself again - "why aren't you living every moment to your artistic potential."
I'm forced to admit - "I don't know."
I don't know, and I don't have any real excuses. I've spent four years working hard to overcome my blocks and learn who I am; but I still don't know what prevents me from being the unstoppable juggernaut I know I can be.
Huh. That may sound like a downer of an ending to you, but strangely, not to me. There's something liberating in "I don't know," in stopping the pretending like I know everything; pretending like I know what's "holding me back."
And you know what? I'm probably not the only one.
Thank you for your time - gonna go play some COD Zombies with my roommates.