Probably the worst feeling as a creative is not having something to show for it. Seriously, the whole idea of being a "creative" is to actually be "creating" something.
Today is Monday – the day I've set aside to post something – and I’ve got nothing. If you couldn’t tell from last week’s post I was kinda phoning it in. That short film project with Tony Li was shot and wrapped up last fall. While I’m still happy with the footage we got and the experience gained, that was six plus months ago.
My goal this year is to post something once a week. The idea is that by setting creative deadlines each week I’m forcing myself to keep moving and grow. Some have been full-throated efforts with personal projects while others have been what a buddy of mine calls “farts in the wind.” The scene in Tommy Boy with the “Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time.” line sums up those worthless posts – and a good deal of what I scroll past on Instagram – quite nicely. From there I immediately go to another side of the spectrum with something I read recently in an interview with photographer Peter Lindbergh:
“I am old enough to have been able to live and see many different things. This means I am not naïve—I simply notice that everybody does everything they possibly can to hype and blow up their personality. And if there is one thing that I understand at 73, it’s that the best attitude for a human being to have is not to be impressed by circumstances and not to try to impress others.”
Obviously I’m interested in people seeing my work and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to translate that attention into some kind of paid gig; That’s part of the deal. I post my work online and to a handfull of forums hoping that the right people see it – I'll let you know if that ever works out.
There’s always that hit of excitement when you post something and it gets even the slightest attention. I swear the VAST majority of my professional life is staring a computer screen, writing in one notebook or the other, and/or reading; No one cares about that. Still, it’s that quiet and solitary work fueling my creative output. That quiet time has led to filled up notebooks, a solid collection of visual references, and treatments that’ll more than likely not be seen by anyone else.
I feel like the trick though is working those ideas and getting them out. A quote came across my Instagram feed recently that was a solid gut punch:
“You know, an idea is just an idea…I know a lot of people who have way better ideas than I do, much more frequently than I do, just that can’t sit down and actually do it. Ideas are…a little overrated really; it’s the work behind the idea that’s the important thing.”
There's also that Linus Pauling line of "The The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." I see it everytime we take The Kid to the Oklahoma Science Museum and it always makes me question what I'm doing with my life...