The Ups And Downs Of A Creative Life

Hello dear reader,

it has been a week of strange motivations. I took a few days off work to recharge and spend some amazing time with my lady Emma, I spent that time playing games and doing absolutely nothing productive at all, even though, in the back of my mind I intended to and secretly wish I had.

I go through long periods of wanting to be better and I tell myself that I got to work, that I need time to myself, that I love playing games; repeating all those things that you tell yourself when you’re putting things off, without even intending to or understanding the reasons why you’re putting them off in the first place.

Deep down I think I know and the feeling scares me a little bit. Deep down there is a little creeping fear that everything I’m doing and all the time I’m spending will never come to anything, that all the effort will be wasted, nobody will ever get to see my writings or the products of my work.

I hate that feeling, so I think I distract myself by making the conscious decision to not try, or to make excuses why I couldn’t try in that moment, then I feel the existential guilt that only a creative can feel when another day has ticked by without actually having made any strides towards the endeavours that make you love being creative in the first place.

How do I navigate around this strange catch-22 that I have pretty much always found myself in? Do I just let the feeling take me and do whatever the hell I want, even if it will take ten years to finish a project? Or do I push myself to finish something and then try my best to get it out there?

The trouble is I don’t know…and I feel like I don’t have the time, knowledge or motivation to get involved in a creative community that might allow me to get my work out there.

How do you know where to best put your time to get your work done, get it out into the world and to keep yourself sane?

I think I’ll be asking that question forever, but maybe one day I’ll find an answer. The important point is that I’m not going to stop. I can’t stop, and if you’re ever tempted to stop, know that in all your unsure and nervous attitude about whether your work is worthy, well it always will be, we need new ideas; all of them.

Keep going, and I will too.

Thoughtful Thursday – The Nagging Itch – On Games, Creativity and Procrastination

Hello dear reader.

Being a creative is horrible sometimes. At least I’m assuming the feeling I’m going to write about is to do with being a creative.

The long and short of the matter is that I spent a large portion of yesterday trying to find a computer game to play, which I do from time to time; I open up Steam and spend literally hours scouring through hundreds of games, trying to find the “right” one. I’ll then buy one or two and play them for a few hours before never touching them again.

I’ve been doing this for years and I know my wife, Smidge, suffers from a similar malady; though it expresses itself in less expensive ways. I have no idea why I do this; I love the idea of playing games and when I find one that does scratch that itch, it feels great, but most of the time I end up spending money that I shouldn’t have spent, on games I don’t play.

I’m quite an introspective beast, so it’s not as if I haven’t tried to find the route cause to this feeling, and honestly I think it’s guilt. I desire to do something with my life, and every time I feel like I want to just relax with a game, I feel like I’m not really “doing” anything towards my goals. The games I want to play are strategic and complex, like the games I want to design, but I push myself into a corner and feel like I should be playing a multi-player game because that experience will in some way feel more meaningful; I’ve played every single MMORPG you could name because the persistence inherent to them engenders a feeling of accomplishment…a false feeling of accomplishment.

The reason I’m writing this article is, more and more, I’m learning that my real projects; those linked with this website, are the ones that give me a real and tangible sense of accomplishment. Maybe when I make real progress on something I value, something real, I’ll be able to give myself a break and just enjoy a “meaningless” experience.

At the end of the day, it’s all just a push and pull between short-term pleasure and long-term accomplishment that represents a common modern struggle; there’s so much in the world that appears to be fun and in the moment, worth doing, but when inside you’re striving to do something more you will never be able to get away from the feeling that you’re not supposed to be wasting your time on short-term fun, at the expense of a project or endeavour you’re “meant” to be working on.

So what have I learned from the last day or so?

Do what you know in your heart you should be doing before trying to distract yourself and put it off because it takes a little longer to get there. Such times as that build motivation if you can find a way to not give in to the urge to procrastinate.

Thank you for listening to me ramble. Good luck in all your endeavours.