I’ve been in the “creativity” business for over two decades. I first started publishing my cartoons in The Austin Chronicle back in college, before landing my first “real job” as an advertising copywriter with a large agency in Chicago.
Ever since then, for the most part, yeah, I’ve worked my ass off. With MASSIVELY varying levels of success.
Twenty-odd years later, I can totally see why most sane people opt out of the “creative” career option- I can totally see why they stick to something more conventional, even if it isn’t really all that interesting to them. It’s NOT because they’re stupid, lazy or unimaginative.
It’s because the alternative is really, really hard.
All throughout these past two decades- this long, painful, wonderful adventure- I kept on asking myself the same question: “When will this stuff start getting easier?”
And the closest thing I’ve ever gotten to an answer is, “Probably Never.”
Of course, it wasn’t until I got comfortable with “Probably Never” that, funnily enough, it started getting easier.
I really don’t know what else to tell you…
[P.S. I utterly DESPISE the word, “Creativity”. Every time I write it, a little piece of me DIES. That being said, I don’t know of another word that works better in this context. Damed if you do etc…]
[Update: Just added this blog post to “EVIL PLANS”.]
[Backstory: About Hugh. Twitter. Newsletter. Book.. Interview One. Interview Two. Limited Edition Prints. Private Commissions. Cube Grenades.“EVIL PLANS”.]
You have found the secret of life, really and truly! Thanks for sharing all you share, in your drawing and your words and your being.
Yes! We need an English word for accepting things the way they are, while maintaining the desire and potential to change them.
Creativity might not be all that bad, but a pretty general one at best. What is interesting is how many other terms sort of approach the imagined intensity of the word “creativity,” but don’t come close to it’s general public meaning. Never-the-less, “creativity” may be all there is out there to describe the general feeling without being misunderstood…
Funny you should say this. I just received a beautiful book of paintings done by a woman I went to college with who is certainly older than you are. She has been painting for 45 years, growing and changing in her art, moving back and forth from Phoenix to New York to LA to Phoenix, and supporting herself entirely through her art. She has not stopped, and I get the feeling she can’t.
And neither can you. And your art’s getting better, as is hers.
Too much mind-space gets taken when we focus on the “it’s really hard” part. Particularly if you’re trying to have your creativity take you to some pre-determined point that you’ve set (or others have set) as “success.”
Benjamin Zander writes a chapter in his book The Art of Possibility about Giving an A. He talks about the tremendous creativity and accomplishment that poured forth in his students when he took the “grade” out of the equation. He focused on freeing their minds, not on working any less. In fact, they worked HARD, but the HARD felt EASY because they became more unblocked. They could relax and breathe.
Scott Peck said something similar in The Road Less Traveled.
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
One of the best things I’ve ever heard came from my mom: “May it never be easy.” This seems in line with what you’re saying, and both of you are right: the moment it becomes easy, we’ve stopped working (or we’re about to die of boredom).
“I utterly DESPISE the word, ‘Creativity’. Every time I write it, a little piece of me dies.” So true. Worthy of a cube grenade in itself, surely?
Its the first time I visit your blog.
But your creativity is really impressing.
I mean both text and drawings
Totally feeling this one. I’ve been making a living doing my “creative,” unconventional thang for almost three years and I asked myself recently, “What if I’ll always be the edge financially?” Why do I keep taking leaps once things get less volatile in the income department? I’ve come to realize that I’m a risk junkie…which makes me feel less victim-y when I look at my bank account. It’s full–or empty–based on choices I made. And today I still choose this life–although yes, I would finally like to sign up for adventure AND paid bills!
Also this post and the comments remind me of a coach that says “ease” stands for “Effortlessly Accessing and Shifting Energy.” Reading the Tao Te Ching and rememember E.A.S.E. have totally changed the way I perceive difficulty. As others have pointed out, my own resistance is usually what makes things painful and unnecessarily arduous.
Oh, and one of my favorite quotes: “If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space!”
Great blog, great community here.