It has been a long standing goal of mine to have a blog or a website, some platform where I can share my thoughts and stories with the world. For the past five years or so that I’ve had this blog, I would sporadically throw a few words or pictures onto a post, twiddle with them for a while, then revise or delete.
Why do I, like millions of others, feel the urge to create a personal blog? I think there’s something instinctual and biological in this urge, this impulse to create something. It’s an incredibly powerful impulse, like our bodies’ impulse to procreate even when our conscious minds protest.
Equally strong, however, are the various forces holding back the creative impulse. The ones that have been holding me back are perfectionism (not wanting to create something that won’t be perfect), fear (believing I may be criticized, ridiculed, etc), and just plain inertia (drifting through life fixated on its myriad trivialities).
The other major reason I’ve found it difficult to write consistently is the belief that I should think of something meaningful and important to say all on my own, and only then should I write. But I’m realizing that I can’t just sit there and wait for inspiration to strike me like lightning; I need to actively cultivate the muse within me and co-create with that muse, whatever that muse may be.
The painter Chuck Close said: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” I realized I’ve been waiting for that inspiration to come to me, when really what I should do is just show up and get to work.
Elizabeth Gilbert talked about this in her TED talk titled “Your elusive creative genius.” She spoke about how in the modern western culture, creativity and genius are seen as coming from the individual creators themselves, but in ancient Greece and Rome, they were thought of as coming from a source other than the individual, a “daemon” or a “genius” that existed separately from the individual. The individual is then seen as more of a vessel, a messenger who simply delivers a message. This reduces the importance of the individual in the creative process, but it also relieves the individual from all the pressure and responsibility of having to create everything on his or her own.
I have been a messenger out of commission for a long time. I felt that I was not a daemon or genius, that I was not a ‘creative person,’ so I sat in the sidelines waiting for myself to become one. Now, I believe it’s not about me becoming a creative person, or becoming anything else; I see it as me doing my part and stepping up to the plate so that the universe can throw me something I can work with. Sometimes I may have my own message to deliver, but most of the time I just need to stand with arms poised to receive the message that I am to deliver.
Okay now I’m mixing metaphors here. The bottom line is, I now see it as my responsibility as a creator to step up to the plate, and to do that consistently and regularly, so that I can receive whatever messages the universe wants me to deliver and then deliver it. I am not responsible for creating everything on my own, but I am responsible in doing my part and meeting my daemons and geniuses halfway.
That is why I decided last week to start writing at least 2 blog posts each week. Every week, I will sit myself down in front of my computer and plant my fingertips on the keys of my board until at least 2 blog posts flow out of me.
It is Sunday evening, almost midnight, so I am going to barely get this second post out in time. I had no idea what to write about, so after some pondering, I decided to write about this very struggle for me to write. Daemon/genius, thank you for the assist.
So there you have it, world, my Blog Post #2 for this week.