The other day I was asked why I write. Good question. Why do I write?
You know why I write? Because I feel like I have to. It’s like I need to and it makes me feel good.
But that isn’t to say that it doesn’t torture me as well. How painful I find it to be in the state of feeling the need to create. Mainly I think this is because of the mental blocks that stop the creation from happening. We all know constipation can hurt bad. Creation constipation kills too.
Actually, in an amazing 19 minute video by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, Gilbert says that the creative process has been, literally, killing the greatest artists for the last couple of hundreds of years.
Her theory, based on other’s theories as well, is that today we’re all about individuality. What we create is ours and came directly from us. So when we succeed, it’s euphoric and when we fail, it kills us. More than that, it’s hard to even put the pen to the paper – or the fingers to the keyboard – because so freakin’ much is riding on every word that it freezes you with fear.
On the other hand, it used to be believed – I think she said in Ancient Rome and Greece – that there was a muse, a genius or just some ghost-type-thing that was with the artist, helping them along. Or not. Either way, then, when there was success, it couldn’t get too much to your head because you knew you weren’t solely reliable for the results and if a creation failed, also, it wouldn’t necessarily totally break you.
There is a book I recently read which pretty much talks about the same idea. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, like this video, is highly, highly recommended.
It kills me – don’t worry, not really – how much time I “waste” because I just can’t get myself to sit down and work. The blocks feel so real. But when I hear about these ideas, it helps me understand where my fears of trying are coming from and it also helps me believe that, over time, I’ll be able to feel more at peace with just trying.
What Gilbert and Pressfield say is that the only thing we have to do is our part. Our part is to sit down and write. The muse’s part (or whatever you want to call it, I might call it some type of Godliness) is to support us and help our work become the best it can be.
P.S. Please don’t be fooled. This piece itself took me days to get around to writing because of my blocks.