There are a million reasons why you might do something.
There are a million reasons why you shouldn't.
Should I write a song? A symphony?
Should I write a short story? A Poem?
What if it's not good enough? After all, [insert name of genius here] had written their famous and incredible work at the age of [insert a very young age here]. I'm not good after all. I shouldn't try.
In the world of the arts, one of the great mysterious entities, as noted in the last blog entry, is creativity. One of the greatest obstacles to creativity is ourselves. Or, sadly, other people.
Sometimes when I'm writing a piece of music or practicing the guitar, my inner voice of doubt, criticism and negativity can start to hamper progress. I noticed this process going on last week when I was trying to get my guitar chops back up to a decent level after the Christmas chaos was over. I was doing simple repetitive finger exercises designed for dexterity. All sorts of negative thoughts were going on in my mind as I tried to get the rust off my fingers. I realized this, stopped judging myself and continued ahead until the work was complete.
If you think that negativity has no real effect, then listen to my interview with Glenn Kurtz, who quit the guitar for a decade because his voice of doubt drowned out reason. He told me that, "Nothing ever felt good enough."
I know many people to whom I would not go for creative advice or criticism. I can see them politely (and silently) dismissing my music or writing because it will not measure up to the tried-and-true masters. These people, though knowledgable, probably have no creative life because of those unrealistic attitudes. In order to create, we first must be free of judgment. We cannot write symphonic music with the ghost of Beethoven hovering over our workspace.
Craft will then guide us, shaping unformed ideas or discarding weak ones. It is a process: nothing more, nothing less.
In any creative life, craft, technique, knowledge and inspiration are the tools. Discipline is the vehicle which makes all these things possible, but the underlying sustaining element of all these things is very simple: love. If love is not the basis of your creative life, then your creative life will not be able to be sustained. Sheer force of will, or worse, egotism, are frail and faulty. If you do not truly love music (or your chosen creative field), then you will come to despair and maybe quit all together.
In his autobiography, Carl Jung remarked: " St. Paul wrote 'Love bears all things, endures all things.' These words say all there is to be said. There is nothing to be added to them."
To my point: be fully alive in your creativity.