I have the greatest portfolio of “almost & what ifs” in the world. Seriously it's the premier collection of missed opportunities. It is the top-ranking accumulation of me thinking “I should go do that.” It is a testament to daydreaming laziness.
This body-of-non-work, unwritten, never-published creativity is filled up with music, photos, short stories, deep thoughts, impactful films that would have changed the world. Yes, ushering into world peace to the planet, curing of disease, feeding the hungry, and helping him to finally fall in love with you…blissful life for all...only if I created the work.
Deep apologies to all. I did not.
Instead I sat frozen, watching the compositions drift in and out of my opportunity to capture it.
Arts only purpose is to serve. We can do three thing in the image of God: love, forgive and create. Why is it so damn hard to create something new and share it??
At this exact moment I am forcing myself to write this. Why bother? There is beer in the fridge, 600 channels of tv to watch and an extremely non-motivated human who would rather take a nap.
But I sit at the keyboard typing, backspacing and deleting my way to what your are reading now. As I type I am listening to music by an artist that I am endlessly impressed with the flow of work he puts out. The room that I sit in is filled with photos, guitars, paintings, camera gear, journals, and books. It is a sacred cathedral to the act of creativity and I am sitting on the altar. This is a good place to insert a false prophet joke…it's been my life's secret ambition to be a self-proclaimed false prophet…just a little FYI about me.
I keep staring at this photo (above). Novice - Expert...and the arrows are pointing in the same direction. This is the lesson I must learn: there is not much that separates the two. You must move in the same direction to create. I ask myself “am I an expert or novice at the act of creating?” Sometimes I think the only difference between novice and expert is the amount of taxes that you pay in a year. Many so-called experts fall back into the world of being a novice; not having the passion to create daily. Many novices sit blissful in the creating process never needing the glory of the outside world's applause. These few are the enlightened ones (yep they get on my nerves to).
About a year ago I stopped referring to myself as a photographer. Composition junkie...that's a better description of what I do. The label of photographer created conflict in me that I had to live up to. The label meant that my other artistic callings were of lesser importance. I am infinitely curious about creativity and the affect of the creative process on the world. See, I truly believe that I could have brought about world peace only if…..
Last week I created a short film that I am very proud of. In truth I am proud of the experience of creating it. I faced the resistance of my thoughts. That was the outcome that I love about the film. It was in the doing, the creating, in confronting the uncomfortable. I am in my car waiting at a red light on the corner and outside the driver's side window are two people singing and asking for money. They look…weathered, authentic...they have a story...I feel it. Immediately I tell myself that this could go in my collection of “almost & what ifs.”
For some mystical reason I drive home and grab my gear and go back to that same intersection, wondering the whole time on the drive back if they already left. I figure out questions in my head to ask them. I was thinking about framing, exposure and music. I pull back into the plaza and they are still there. I park my car and set up my gear. I proceed to walk up to them (big personal achievement for me) and I tell them that I am a photographer and short filmmaker and that I would like to record them for a few minutes. I hand them a twenty dollar bill and they agree to play a couple of songs and answer my questions.
Validated; I faced my fear and talked to strangers. This is big for me. At that moment I created something new that is going into the "real portfolio", which is to say, stuff that people can actually see, actually search in Google for, something that will be achieved on my blog for the foreseeable future.
Next week I will start two new projects. I am moving in a direction of changing myself to be uncomfortable. Why? I need to stretch and go where I have never gone before. Creating is discovery first, repetition second. I have realized that I am good at doing this but as of late I fear that I have been doing the same thing. I am discovering that I am getting too good at repetition. I need to play some bad notes, need to see out of focus, I need to play in traffic.
Get uncomfortable, 1000 failures…this is the conversation that I been having with a good friend of mine.
How do you get better at creating stuff?