Roughly 35 days ago I began the challenge of writing every day and posting it online, 100 days of “Create not consume.”
The goal was to create a habit whilst removing the idea that work needs to be “perfect” before going into the public domain. This is a common sticking point for those who are indulging in a creative endeavour, particularly at the beginning. Does your creative work even exist if it’s not seen by anyone? I’ll leave this argument for the “tree falling in a forest” debaters. This is what I’ve learnt thus far.
“Writers block” is a myth
How can it be a myth when you’ve experienced it on so many occasions? Staring at the blank page then agonising for hours over disjointed words.
Writers block has become an easy excuse, applied to all creative works. “I’ll come back and paint when I’m feeling inspired.” We believe it too because it makes sense. As it turns out, creative work isn’t that different from any other type of work. You turn up and do your job. Your mechanic doesn’t have to be inspired to fix your carburettor. It’s simply a process.
Creating for pleasure
I felt that I enjoyed the process before but I spent too much time agonising over minuet detail that clouded my perception of the work as a whole. Not being able to see the forest for the trees if you will. This made the process painfully slow.
Now, I work within a set time frame and practice each day. This routine allows me to enjoy the process. There isn’t the “pressure” of creating a one time masterpiece, it’s creating for the sake of pleasure. Even if I finish for the day and am unhappy with the final piece, the process itself has been enjoyable.
I’ve become more critical about what’s massaging my ego and what’s of value to the reader. Developing this analytical aspect has meant when reading the work of other writers I pay more attention to their voice. I see writing, as a whole, differently and as a result, read my own work in a different light.
Conversations, news articles, books, songs, movies and nature all inspire deeper thought. Everything becomes a question. This has made life far more interesting.
Finding a voice
Just as Bob Dylan has his instantly recognisable rough around the edges, nearly spoken style of singing and Mark Rothkos ominous blocks of colour overpower the observer, each writer should have a distinctive voice. As the days pass and I live less in my thinking brain, space becomes available for a voice to shine through. We are rapidly approaching a time when AI will be able to do much of our work, how will we differentiate and remain valuable? With our voice.
When so much of you is trying to fix the technical mistakes you make whilst telling a story that may inspire others, it’s easy to forget about speaking in your own voice.
Creating to say something
Previously I wrote from the viewpoint of what I had read about a topic not necessarily combined with my opinion. Regurgitation of information. What is this adding to the world? Approaching a topic and infusing your own opinion is what creates interesting conversation. My opinion may still be uninformed but it creates a space where I can be taught through debate.
This is all only scratching the surface. Surprising to me, was that it has helped areas outside of writing. My day to day communication and general analytical brain have changed radically. Am I Charles Bukowski? No, far from it but far from where I was on day 1.