Creative People: Why Are You So LAZY?!
I woke up at 1:30pm today with this thought:
Am I lazy or…?
A lot of us judge ourselves by how productive we are in our day-to-day lives. This is a big problem for creative types.
(And by creative types, I mean YOU. Not the you you are now, but the latent creative you who is lying-in-waiting.
Why? Because a lot of us are day-dreaming, imagining or just thinking.
And not producing.
Do you know that some of the greatest artists from the Renaissance (da Vinci, for one) were known to sit in front of a blank wall, just staring, for an entire month before putting down one blob of paint?
They did absolutely nothing.
Or, did they?
I was having a downer day a couple days ago. I wasn’t writing, even though I had woken up early, did some morning reading, had a nutritious breakfast, taken a walk…
I had done everything right to be able to write.
Yet, nothing happened.
The problem is that unlike da Vinci and other great artists, it’s difficult for me to be ok with doing nothing.
That’s a BIG problem that I believe a lot of artists and creative types have; we beat ourselves up when we’re not using our time wisely.
Luckily, a friend of mine from Norway talked me down. She reminded me of something so crucial to the creative process that it’s almost funny that I wasn’t able to see it for myself.
Alex, your head is working hard – therefore it is almost painful to sit down to write. Give it time. It’s coming!
She gave me this amazing gift: that thinking is a form of doing!
This whole time I’ve been beating myself up for not doing enough when, in reality, I have been doing plenty!
As the poet, Rilke, says (paraphrased) in one of his works, the creative process is just that–a process; there’s a gestation period, just like in pregnancy. You don’t just pop out great works–or babies. You’ve got to spend time preparing your mind, just like the farmer prepares the soil.
Ok, big paraphrase.
I would argue that if you’ve got burning desire and you’re not using your time effectively–i.e., you’re distracting yourself with whatever–relax. Take a break. Go outside. Take a walk. Breathe. Do something FUN!
It’s not that you’re lazy; it’s just that you’ve not yet learned to dance with the creative process.
We can’t force the creative process.
One of the things I’ve done, and hated myself for doing, is having had the time to do creative stuff, but then not done anything productive–and then felt horrible for it. Instead of enjoying my day, I wasted it brooding and doing nothing.
(You see how that’s different from sitting and doing nothing?)
Did you catch that? You see how these values and beliefs about productivity are embedded in our subconscious? They are in mine. I’m just learning to break free. (The first step is simply to notice them; only then can you root them out!)
Now, you may need to get some kind of job. The starving artist thing is not much fun. And, unnecessary.
Stop beating yourself up!
Stop calling yourself lazy!
That’s not helping!
Go meet up with some of your friends.
Have an evening out.
Get outside and clear your head.
Call up a great friend.
Watch a movie.
Go for a bike ride.
Unwind a little.
Then, when you least expect it,
and the calling to create comes–
and it will come–