I have an ugly habit.
This habit involves my inability to leave things alone. You see, I’m an experimenter. I always have been. I’ve always enjoyed playing with things…seeing what makes them tick…getting them JUST right.
I also like to do things. I like to have projects going. I like to create. Nothing wrong with that.
HOWEVER…these things combined have a tendency to produce too many irons in the proverbial fire. I establish ideas and goals in my head that I want to pursue creatively and then I start feeling PRESSURE (?!?) to achieve them. To be clear – these are things that didn’t even exist a few days before, but now that they’ve moved into concrete reality, I feel compulsion to kick them through the uprights.
The pressure to accomplish is self-imposed, of course, but it is still real. Somewhere in the back of my head I believe that I am running out of time and I need to get as much done as possible as quickly as possible. I feel death’s breath on the back of my neck. (Huh?!?)
The irony of the situation is that the more pressure I feel to produce, the less capable I am of making something great. I don’t understand it, but it’s real. The other irony is that this inability to produce great stuff can and will heap even MORE pressure onto the already quivering pile of expectations.
This is common with many artists I meet. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it a compulsion to let others see what’s inside us? Is it a need to feel useful?
As I was doing some writing yesterday, I accidentally kicked out a phrase that is now affixed to the front of my notebook. It says:
“Purity, Not Utility”
During this season I am focusing on making things that are pure and great and trusting that I will find utility for them. The act is the important thing right now. The purity of my desire to create. This is what is beautiful.