March 26, 2012
In fact, I'm going to make a confession here and perhaps puncture an illusion or two in the process. I am not, it turns out, one of those writers who doggedly and determinedly works on my writing every day. Or even every other day. Oh, most days of the week I write SOMETHING--a freelance article, or journal-esque ramblings, or (gulp) a blog post. But I don't sit down every day to work on my WIP.
Whew. There. I said it.
The thing is, I've figured out that it isn't a lack of discipline. It is a rather lamentable inability to prioritize my personal creative work, combined with no small talent in the area of procrastination. I have trouble seeing my creative endeavors as more important than everything else, when they very probably ARE. This problem extends to my artwork, too, perhaps even more so than my writing. I have trouble telling myself that it's OKAY to leave those papers in a massive toppling pile, it's okay to vacuum tomorrow instead of right now, it's okay to consider lessening my other responsibilities so I can address my need to make stuff. We live in a society that encourages us to believe the very opposite, in fact, and it's difficult to withstand that pressure. It's difficult to compete with that inner voice saying that my paying job is where I need to devote my time and energy, that I should spend more time with my family, that I should address those commitments I've already made to other people before tackling my own projects--because those are all compelling arguments and it's hard to say they're wrong.
I wonder how other creative types handle this dilemma, assuming I'm not the only lucky person to struggle with it. :) I know I can't possibly be, although it's in the nature of this particular beast that it feels very isolating and tends to lead to a downward spiral of self-criticism.
I found some thoughtful insights on the inner critic over at Wordswimmer. There are also some interesting lists of creative tips on the website of creativity coach Eric Maisel.