I woke up this morning with what I like to call “creative angst”. A few people might be able to relate to this, and a few others might think I am totally insane.
Do you ever spend a ton of time creating something, investing countless resources, time, energy, money, into the production of something and then shortly after you finish it you already are dissatisfied with it? It’s not just that you feel displeased with it, but you irrationally despise it with every fiber of your being. You start to feel trapped, stuck, held back by it. You feel that until this one thing changes, nothing will be ‘right’, nothing will ‘work’. Everything seems to become off kilter. Your world begins to loose it’s equilibrium. You become obsessed with it. You catch yourself searching through magazines, Pinterest, blogs, and forums into the late hours of the night, hoping to find something, anything, that could help improve it. It becomes your center focus and improving it is the only thing you can think of. What seemed to be so perfect before now feels so mediocre. Not even just mediocre….it feels intolerable. You can’t stand it.
So you do the only thing you know to do. You do what you feel compelled to do; SCRAP IT. Re-do everything. Dump it all out and start from scratch. Rebuild it from the ground up. Somewhere during this psychotic frenzy you realize that it’s in the process of creating that you feel most at peace. You love it. It will never be the final product that brings you satisfaction because you are not a ‘final product’ kind of person. You are a creative person. You were made to throw a million ideas down on paper, and look through a thousand inspiration sources, and try to work it a hundred different ways before you find ‘the’ way. You were made to never be satisfied with the final result because that would mean that you stop creating. Your innate compulsion to make something better, cooler, newer, fresher, more efficient, more beautiful, more fill-in-the-blank makes you, YOU. And it’s the drive that keeps you moving forward, ever improving.
You aren’t supposed to be happy with your own work because you aren’t meant to keep it. You are meant to share it with the world because it will bring THEM joy. Some say “The harder the journey the sweeter the destination.” I say “Enjoy the journey, screw the destination.” The creative process is nothing shy of complete and utter mental chaos. But why not embrace it? Sometimes I feel like my mind is Jackson Pollock, thrashing about wildly and uncontrolled flinging paint across a giant canvas in my brain. Maybe I need to begin embracing the Jackson Pollock within.
Here’s one of Jackson’s most famous works. It’s called Autumn Rhythm.
COPYRIGHT JACKSON POLLOCK