Creativity is Vulnerable
This past week, I heard a comment on a podcast that stuck with me:
Creativity is vulnerable.
A simple summary of a problem I have had trouble explaining to others (and even to myself) for years.
As anyone who has attempted to write or create something to share with others knows, some months and seasons are better than others. Sometimes, the words and ideas just keep coming, and you can’t get them on the page fast enough.
Other times (like, for me, the month of August 2019), everything grinds to a halt.
One of the reasons I encourage people to keep writing blog posts, even on the days when the posts are really bad and take forever to get done, is that continuing to write on the bad days makes it easier to break out of a creative slump when you do find yourself in one. If writing becomes a habit, that “I’m just doing what I always do” part of your brain can take over and help to push you through whatever it is that is blocking your creativity. But practicing or creating a habit isn’t always enough.
Because creativity is different than going to the gym or drinking your daily cup of coffee.
And I think the fact that creativity is vulnerable is one of the things that makes it so different.
On the surface, this makes sense… and is a positive thing. Some of the most important written works, works of art, and other creative endeavors throughout history have been built by an artist, writer, photographer or creator telling their own truth. Being vulnerable. Sharing an authentic look at the world they live in and the challenges they have endured, learned from and overcome.
But when we forget that creativity is vulnerable, that fact can cause problems.
Sometimes, you want to create something based on the schedule, editorial calendar, niche, or topic you have defined for yourself. But the truth isn’t fitting into that box. The vulnerable side of creating can pop up at the most inopportune time, and all of the sudden you find yourself unable to create anything, because you can’t work around it.
If you find yourself unable to explain why you are stuck, don’t make a plan for getting unstuck. Sit down in front of a blank page. Put your camera in the car and drive. Get out a canvas. Open your journal.
And make what needs to be made.
It probably won’t fit into a box or schedule. But sometimes that vulnerable side of the creativity we all work to control just has to be given free reign for a bit.
Whenever I do this, I’m usually able to start writing whatever I wanted and planned to write again afterward. And often, whatever mess I end up making when I’m acknowledging that vulnerable side of creativity is not something that the world – or anyone – sees.
But I thought this time, I would share it.
In case this little post helps any of the creators I know that end up finding themselves stuck occasionally.
We’ve all been there.
Remember that not everything you make has to be shared.
Sometimes, you are making something just to get it off your chest, just to get it out of the way, so that you can move forward to whatever you want to make next.
You’re just telling the truth, even if it is only to yourself, because it needs to be told.
And that is never a waste of time or energy.
Because creativity is vulnerable, whether we like it or not.
And even if that can slow us down sometimes… it’s a beautiful thing.