There’s always this part of my day where I would feel inspired to make music. I would feel the spark of creativity stir up in my brain, forcing my body to do something about it.
I hop off my bed, plug my rusty guitar into my computer, open my audio software, and start recording. This would be the best part of any creative process, actually putting the ideas from my mind into reality.
But it would always happen.
It’s usually when I start struggling to think of ideas for the next part of the song, or when I start questioning myself if anybody would even like what I was writing. My creativity would dip, I would lose confidence in the recording and then I return straight to bed. And this isn’t just for music, this would happen to me when I’m doing anything requiring creativity.
I would always feel like crap afterward. I would think of all the unfinished songs gathering dust on my hard drive. I would beat myself up. A creative idea amounting to nothing.
I had to learn the hard way that creativity isn’t always easy.
Allowing yourself to be creative
Every creative person has struggled with confidence. I imagine that there are millions of creative projects in the world left unseen or incomplete because the creator was not confident that it was good enough.
Who cares if it isn’t good enough?
No one ever really knows what they are talking about.
“…If history has taught us anything, the world is an extremely unreliable critic.” - Ethan Hawke
A person would say they don’t like your work, but some other person would say that they loved it. Keep your ear open for criticism to improve your craft, and listen to those who love your work to keep you going.
Hankering for approval and good reception is normal, but using that as your primary goal will negatively affect your creativity.
Your creative work has the potential to leave a mark in the world, no matter how tiny or big that mark is. What is important is that you have expressed the ideas from your mind and brought them out for others to see.
Ethan Hawke’s TED talk video “Give yourself permission to be creative” has the best insights on creativity I have ever heard.
He posits that creativity is sustenance. It’s humanity’s way to try and make sense of all the hardships and successes that life throws at you. The personal expression that human creativity offers gives people the chance to connect. It gives people that are having the same ideas and emotions as you a chance for representation.
Expressing yourself will bring you closer to the people you love. It will bring you closer to the things you want in life. It will make you happier.
“…There is no path until you walk it. And you have to be willing to play the fool.” - Ethan Hawke
Being scared and insecure is a hard but essential part of it. It’s a journey everybody has to take to leave a mark in the world.
For any creative, the ultimate failure isn't a bad review – it's not letting their work actually be reviewed.
Don't allow anything to stifle your creativity any longer. Consider this: What amazing project have you been putting off for too long? Start it now, before it’s too late to share it with the world.