When ego is siphoned off creativity, when creativity becomes one more thing we do, like the laundry, then it takes far less time to do it. Much of our desire for creative time has to do with our trying to coax ourselves into being in the right mood to create. We want to “feel like it,” and when we don’t, or don’t quickly, we think the solution is more time. Actually, the solution is less attention to the vagaries of mood. In short, creativity needs to become something daily, doable, and nonnegotiable, something as quotidian as breathing.
When we make a special occasion out of our art, we rob ourselves of the time we actually have. When we make a ceremony out of the right paper, the right noise level, the right pen and precise circumstance, we are actually creating many false conditions that make our art not more possible but more impossible. “I can’t think when it’s noisy” or “when the kids are home” or “when the phone’s going off.” We may not like thinking under those conditions, but we can think under them and we owe it to ourselves to learn that we can. By making our creativity nonnegotiable, we do it a little every day no matter what our mood and no matter what our judgement of our work. What we are after is the gut-level knowledge that our creativity is both doable and portable.
… The less precious we are about how and when we do our work, the more precious it can be to us. We are like parents who take their infant everywhere. The child learns to thrive in many environments, and so, too, can our brainchild, art.
- Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper
OH MY GOD, THANK YOU! I have been trying to say this for years!! I just never knew quite how to say it!
I once had a friend who swore she was an amazing writer, but she had to wait around for the “plot bunnies”. It drove me crazy and irritated the hell out of me when she’d whine. I HATE the term “plot bunnies” or waiting for your “muse” to whisper to you.
One of the first things I learned in art school was that you CAN’T WAIT AROUND for some magical fairly to sprinkle ideas on you. THE MORE YOU PRACTICE THE MORE FREQUENTLY IDEAS COME TO YOU. To wait around is a self-defeating practice!