I’m sitting, looking at my finished masterpiece.
It’s the product of passion, sleeplessness, joy, anxiety, adrenalin and unshed tears.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating this. I am full of pride seeing such treasure that I’ve striven tirelessly to compose.
Somehow I’ve managed to harness energy and emotion into something tangible and I’m thrilled with the end result.
So why isn’t the world watching?
Such is the so-called curse of the creative.
How do we stand out in an over-saturated market where everyone else has the ability to broadcast their chosen art in a matter of seconds?
How can we possibly be original amongst a population of people who are all striving to secure space to showcase their genius?
And what happens when we actualize a creation that feels so authentic to who we are, that it almost seems to be an extension of ourselves, yet nobody else seems to notice?
Conversely, what about the handiwork we put out there that is noticed but not received well? The manifestations that are seen but not appreciated.
I was once told that although my photography was “interesting” it wouldn’t be hung on anyone’s wall as it wasn’t “mainstream enough.”
Is our art less worthy if it’s not acclaimed?
If that’s the case then are we always waiting for our work to be validated by others before we can stand by it?
Perhaps there always comes a point where every artist has to decide whether they want to stay true to their art, or if they are prepared to adapt it to suit the palate of the consumer market. Maybe that means diluting it down. Maybe it means refining it to the extreme.
Just one of the tough love choices at the tip of the creative iceberg.
If we alter it too much then will we even recognise it as the vision that we once birthed?
Has it become something alien that we struggle to identify with?
Can we say we are proud of it?
Does a strike a chord in our hearts?
When the bills are coming in faster than the money it can be hard to stay resolute to our dreams.
I do believe, however, that the natural creative calling must always be honoured. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
When we let go of what we are compelled to create, we lose a part of ourselves. A crucial part. The part that reminds us why we’re alive. Why we are here.
The outputs of our expressions may change over the years, but the urge remains the same. A pull like no other.
The freedom we seek is found in our art.
Our jumbled, chaotic thoughts pour themselves into a semblance of something palpable. I’ve found that the biggest creative hurdle, other than self-doubt, is the over analytical mind. As soon as we start over-thinking, we lose the natural, raw imagination that can only survive without structure.
And when we start off with the intention of pleasing others or producing only what we think will be noticed, we lose our way entirely.
As a writer I am acutely aware that the current trend of “listing” as a way to lure readers to view articles is indeed very prevalent. There are lists for everything:
“Five Ways To Find Joy in Your Nine to Five Job.”
“Eight Reasons You Are Not Happy In Your Marriage.”
“Why These Four Habits Will Change Your Life.”
These headlines scream out at us from magazines on newsagents shelves and from e-publications on our screens.
With the rather sobering knowledge that the UK attention span is now just eight seconds, there is more pressure than ever to cater to the growing demographic that is only prepared to allow us a few moments of their precious time before they scroll to the next headline that promises enlightenment in an instant.
I can’t write like that.
For me it’s soulless.
It’s a glorification of busy and a stark reminder of the impatience of a modern day society that has fallen out of love with listening.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fallen victim to the “too busy” epidemic myself.
It’s a challenge to live in a fast paced city and not be affected by the accelerated tempo of life around me. I’ve had to be more consciously aware of my own habits of haste and slow down sufficiently so that I might savour some of what I’m experiencing rather than blitz my way through it.
Just as my mode of photography can’t cater for the eyes of those who wish to see a different picture, my style of writing has to be true to who I am.
I have to honour the creative heart within that likes to get lost in paragraphs.
I’ll leave the bullet point lists to those who find more favour in their short, sharp succinct lines.
Maybe I’ll miss out on the vote from the eight second nation but I’ll run that risk, because maybe, just maybe, when the multi-tasking, rushing, racing masses have burnt out from incessant scrolling and swiping, I’ll still be looking at what I’ve created and know that I’m okay with it.
Even if it is just me watching.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman