(I thought I’d posted this in the first week of November; I guess I’ve been more distracted than I thought these last few months…)
You know, I think I’ve figured it out. It came to me not too long ago after writing last month’s metablog post, and I’ve spent the last few weeks exploring it through notes and scribbles to myself in a big ol’ sketchbook I’ve carried with me absolutely everywhere. I think I know what’s stopped my creativity in its tracks.
I don’t believe I do anything useful. There. I’ve said it. Phew. I can’t tell you what it’s like to write that down, as opposed to having it whirl around my head as part of an increasingly aggressive monologue on the subject. By now, I’m typically preoccupied with thoughts of what I want for my birthday, or where the fuck I’ll shove the Yule tree this year – even though both of these are a fair few weeks away. Anyway, I’m distracting myself so I don’t have to talk about the matter at hand.
Nothing I design, make or write solves a problem. None of it rights a wrong. There isn’t a genuine need for what I design, make or right. The outputs and products from these exercises serve no practical purpose. I can’t even say that they serve an artistic one, either; at the moment, nothing has any… Intent. It’s all just inspiration – and that’s not enough. Not now, at least.
Also, something else I’ve ‘discovered’: When it comes to what I design and make, I just don’t want to sell it. That doesn’t mean that I want to hoard everything I produce; I simply don’t want to create something for the sake of selling it. Upon reflection, that’s not how I want to earn a living. I don’t want to have to convince someone they either want or need something that isn’t essential. The practice of ‘selling’ – in what I consider to be its true sense – is anathema to me. I reel from it, hissing and spitting, when it’s done to me, so I can’t, in good conscience, do it to another. I’d never been good at it, but I guess I’d never really admitted to myself what I’ve just written.
I’ve sold at markets and online, but not for a long time. I guess this calls into question the future of those activities, doesn’t it? I think I might still put up for sale some of what I make – but I believe the reason why will sit somewhere between ‘if you like what I do, you can buy it’ and ‘I don’t have enough space to keep all the stuff I make’. But this also presumes a level of self-promotion, of publicising my design and making activity – something that can feel too much like selling to me. I think I need to sit down and work out the critical differences between selling and sharing if I want to go about it from this perspective.
And, as for my writing, well. What’s the point of being one in an innumerable mass of voices, each screaming their experiences and opinions into the void? The answer that always comes back to me is that each of these voices is unique, as would mine be. Each of these voices represents a unique lived experience that is no more or less valuable than any one of the others. That should give me the confidence to write, right?
But, then, I think about it some more, and I realise that I want to share my thoughts, opinions and experiences on a range of things that some people would prefer me to not; and I worry that my one voice, offering what it would, asking its questions, would be shouted down and shut out. It’s not that other people scare me – that’s not what I mean by ‘worried’… I just find myself less inclined to write anything that might warrant a defence at some point. I keep thinking about how the response to that would be something along the lines of, ‘Well, in that case, they’ll have won.’ But, I don’t have the life left in me to keep fighting people – or to plan fights with people that may or may not happen.
I can’t help but think about how this kind of hesitation, this kind of self-doubt never got anyone anywhere. Perhaps I do need to do something that challenges (?) my conclusions on ‘what’s been up’ with my creativity, and my creative processes and practices. Perhaps I need to try to do something that moves me purposefully, and with confidence, away from my comfort zone. I never thought I’d be in this kind of position, considering I’m a typically confident individual in pretty much every other area of my life, but there you go. And, hopefully, here do I. Gulp.