Determination and Creativity

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being creative is not easy.

There’s a growing number of people who seem to think that having a career in the arts is easy. They think it should come naturally, be a piece of cake, and then are seriously dismayed when their own attempts fall short of their expectations.

Let me state again: being creative is not easy.

No matter what your ‘art’ is — whether it be traditional like music or painting, unconventional like trash sculpture, or painstaking craftsmanship (a la carpentry or metal working) — the fact remains that it takes work.

“Ah,” you say, “but you have talent. That makes it easy for you.”

Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly I enjoy my creative pursuits, but regardless if I have talent or not, I’ve put in the time. I have been playing music for over 20 years. Twenty years! That’s hours spent practicing, listening, reading, experimenting with music and sound. And I was most definitely not a perfect player from the start. There were aspects of my craft I struggled with, times when I was having so much difficulty I almost quit. But I was stubborn. I wanted to play well, and so I did what was necessary to do so — which was keeping at it! It was sheer dedication and determination that kept me practicing through the rough parts.

Being creative is not easy. Please do not be dismayed when your initial attempts are unwieldy and awkward. We all start somewhere. Even prodigies and talented people. In some ways, they may even have it rougher as talent can work against you — for example, while you may be capable of playing Beethoven on day one, you still have to build up the muscles and stamina with rudimentary exercises to DO it without hurting yourself (like running a marathon).

My point is, just because art is an art doesn’t mean it’s simple or easy. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t progress as fast as you would like. Don’t throw in the towel after one, two, or even ten lessons when it doesn’t ‘click’ right away. Be determined. Be dedicated, and one day, you will meet your goals.