I came across an article by Elizabeth Gilbert this week which caught my eye because of the following quote:
"If you have a creative mind, it’s a little bit like owning a border collie. You have to give it something to do or it will find something to do, and you will not like the thing it finds to do."
She is absolutely right. You can read the full article using the link at the bottom of this blog, but it goes on to rightly dispel some of the common myths about creativity. This includes the notion that only certain 'special' people are creative (utter cobblers) and that creative people waft around in a haze of permanent creative loveliness, probably in some kind of multicoloured paisley kaftan and never once experiencing any hair-pulling chuck-it-across-the-room b*ll*cks-to-it-all hissy fits that would stun even the stroppiest of two year old's into silence and have them considering how to up their game.
With creativity there are good days and bad days, just like in every other facet of life. This weekend I could not make a round bead to save my life. A round bead - kinda fundamental. But nope, more mandrels ended up in my water bucket instead of my kiln than I can ever remember. It didn't help that I had some commission beads to make so the pressure was on. When I finally opened the kiln the following day to see what I could salvage I discarded everything as a waste of time and retreated to the sofa with a tub of ice cream to sulk.
I know the root cause of this weekend's frustrations. Apart from a significant amount of pain through illness I also found out this week that I have been endowed with not one but two new managers in the 'day job' and have already been made to feel worthless. Not being able to make a round bead for toffee was the proverbial icing on the cake - disappointment in both roles. My brain helpfully filled in the gap the lack of creativity had left. The ice cream filled the rest.
The important thing was that the following day I went back to remake some of the commission beads and unexpectedly had a good session on the torch. Nothing had really changed, it was just my determination to go back and get things done. If I could add one thing to the article it would be that creativity is about having both curiosity and persistence in pursuit of the (almost) perfect (see point 6 in the article!). It's like a swing ball game (for those old enough to remember it) where you had a tennis ball at the end of a string attached to a pole in the ground. Get a nice rhythm going and it was quite mesmerising. Smack it hard and you had to duck quick or you were taken out by your own efforts! Similarly, lose focus and you ended up tied up in string. Some days, you'd have a good round but some days you'd have to accept the ball had the upper hand. Creativity requires dedication just like any other area you want to excel in. You just have to keep hitting the ball.
Or to put it in the words of one of my favourite characters: "Just keep swimming..." ;)
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