I'm Having an Affair (with my Creative Self)
Stop treating your creativity like it's a tired, old, unhappy marriage (a grind, a drag) and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover.
I recently finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's newest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and the message I can't get out of my head is to have an affair with my creative self. You can read the entire passage over here on Google Books.
This passage is actually why I'm writing to you here instead of on my previous blog, Minimal Millennial. I still have a place in my heart for that blog, but I was growing tired of the restraints it had on me.
The tired creativity
I got to the point in my writing where I was hammering out words just for the sake of a word count. I wasn't getting paid, but it sure felt like an obligation.
I watched as others in my niche continued to cover the same tired topics as I was discussing, and I couldn't help but lose a lot of the passion I started with. It wasn't me anymore.
I wasn't just tired - I was heartbroken, too. My passion for writing has come and gone throughout the years, but I had never fallen out of love with it like I did this past year. I thought for sure I had lost it, and didn't know where else to look for that spark again.
After weeks of moping, I realized that I had to be the bigger person and admit that I missed writing. I began brainstorming for this personal blog and found that the passion was still there. I just needed a new platform.
Reigniting the flame
So how do you reignite the passion after it's old news? I like to be a little risqué. Here's what I'm doing:
Start over - take away all the rules and do things you never thought you'd do. Try some things that make you uncomfortable; you don't have to do them again if you don't want to. Flirt with a different medium, try on a new dress and look at yourself with fresh eyes.
This can be a quiet process. That's what Elizabeth Gilbert recommends - treat your creativity and your work as a secret affair. Be selfish with the pleasure it brings you while you fall in love with it for the first or the hundredth time.
Right now, I'm keeping this blog under the radar (I haven't made a formal announcement about it) because I want to make sure we're more than just friends. I'm starting to take half days once a week so that I can spend time with my blog and my writing.
And then, when you're ready to share that pleasure with others you can take it to the next level: share your personal blog. Show your paintings at an art show. Read at an open mic night.
You are worthy of a creative life
You're worth the secret pleasure of having an affair with your creativity. Don't let excuses stand in the way of something that makes you uniquely you. Because guess what? No one is going to explicitly tell you to practice your art until you give yourself permission to do so first.
I can't get enough of this analogy. It's helped me to frame my work in a way that makes it essential to me, instead of something I only gaze longingly at from afar.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a lovely way of helping you to pursue your most creative life. So if you are a creative being (which includes all humans), you'll love Big Magic. There's a podcast called "Magic Lessons" that has some beautiful firsthand stories to go along with the book.
What is the passion that you've been daydreaming about?