Still Waiting on that Mystik Spiral Album

“Sadly, some people never get beyond the box stage in their creative life. We all know people who have announced that they’ve started work on a project– say, a book– but some time passes, and when you politely ask how it’s going, they tell you that they’re still researching. Weeks, months, years pass and they produce nothing. They have tons of research but it’s never enough to nudge them toward the actual process of writing the book.”
                                                              -Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
I think everyone knows at least one of these types of people. The Trent Lane (sorry, Daria was a defining point of my adolescence) type that has all the desire to be a professional creator, but none of the ambition or motivation.

In some cases, it may be fear that holds them back.

“But if making art gives substance to your sense of self, the corresponding fear is that you’re not up to the task — that you can’t do it, or can’t do it well, or can’t do it again; or that you’re not a real artist, or not a good artist, or have no talent, or have nothing to say. The line between the artist and his/her work is a fine one at best, and for the artist it feels (quite naturally) like there is no such line. Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all — and for those who do, trouble isn’t long in coming.”

                                                              – David Bayles, Art & Fear
Fear can be overcome. Fear SHOULD be overcome. But a lack of drive pretending to be fear? There’s nothing to be done for that.
Creator professions are hard. Artist, writer, musician…they’re all equally rough (I should know, I’m an artist married to a writer/musician). When creating is what you do full time, you don’t really have a job as far as many people are concerned. I’ve had people tell me in one breath that it’s great that I make art, and in the next breath tell me art is sooo easy to make. I’ve had friends get angry with me when I can’t do this favor, or that errand, or I miss such-and-such event due to work. Even if I was out of town for a festival, they expect that I should be at the thing they want me at, because it’s not like I have a JOB-job.
I hate the emphasis on the first “job,” there. So demeaning.
I sometimes wonder if that spark of ambition is something that can be learned or kindled in someone. Are you born with the drive to making creating the center of your life? I feel like I was. I think my husband was too. Maybe it’s a congenital trait, like my brown hair or my short stature.
Then again, I can dye my hair and wear heels to increase my height.

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