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The discomfort of creation

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Why do we keep writing?

The advice is contradictory. Write for yourself, but write for SEO and keywords. Write as though no-one is listening, but don’t sweat it if they don’t like what they hear. Strive to get published, but don’t rejoice when you do, it’s only the start of more problems. Stay sensitive and also grow a thick skin. The work is the thing, but only successful work is valued. Be humble about your work but also proud.

I’m tired, today. Today, I can’t make those words motivate me, and I can’t find the words to motivate myself. It all seems pointless, writing stories and blog posts and working on a novel that no-one will ever see.

Why should I keep going?

I am weighed down by life and responsibility. It’s easier to sit in front of the TV, gorging on mindless ‘entertainment’ that is as nourishing as a marshmallow; sweet on the tongue for a moment and then gone. It’s easier to look out the window, my brain an empty thought bubble until my oughts, shoulds and musts call me back to earth.

It’s easier not to create, because creating is hard.

But what will happen is this. A tiny grain of an idea grows below the surface of my working brain. Hardly noticeable at first, it gathers size and whispers to me in odd moments and ambushes me as I fall asleep. Pictures and dialogue jumble in my mind. And without thinking, without planning, layers of story start to accrete around the grain.

Eventually I am drawn back to my keyboard, and drawn back to creation.

Because it may be hard, but it is necessary. Creative sparks can be exciting but more often they are like grit in the oyster. They are the start of something, but they need time, and work, and care to become something better.

I make stories because it is in my nature. I tried not making them, I redirected my drive into different areas but after all of that, I came back to words. So I will allow myself some rest, and listen for the whisper, feel for the thing that will not vanish even when ignored.

Then I will cast out my pearl to see if someone else finds it valuable; but remember that a pearl is no less precious because some people prefer a diamond.

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