Blue Skies

From a comment submitted re. my last post.
What is creativity? Creativity is the ability to come up with productive, enterprising ideas and work that, at the very least, should have aesthetic, if not monetary value. It’s all very well to say that creativity should exist for its own sake; for enabling the self to be conscious of the here and now; but how could you possibly remain calm and poised enough to achieve that state, if your so-called creative work merely represents your inability to produce anything more than eyesores?
Your book, ‘Creative License’, aims to rid people like me of this inconvenient truth, but I’m afraid it fails to do so. I attempted at your EDM group’s weekly assignments one challenge a day, everyday for the past week, struggling to keep my inner critic down and concentrating hard and long so that I may to produce something half-way decent, but the best I have come up with so far is a deep lengthwise scratch in frustration down a page of the Moleskine I’d bought after months of guilt at such indulgence.
I doubt you could really help, but it would be interesting to see what you have to say for such problems.
— Blue Skies

“A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.” — Shostakovich
Dear Blue Skies:
I’m sorry you are so frustrated with your efforts. I’d suggest you worry less about aesthetics and persevere. The fact is, your desire to make ‘something half way-decent’ is your Achilles heel right now and your harsh inner critic is taking advantage of it.

Spend another week just drawing the same thing over and over. Draw it, turn the page and draw it again, A bowl of fruit, a shoe, a picture of yourself, whatever. Again and again. Don’t look at your work, don’t judge it, just draw and draw.

If your inner critic is jabbering in your ear, blast music.

I know you don’t trust me but heed just this: if you draw a lot you will improve your drawing. It may take longer than you’d like but it will happen.

Aesthetics do not matter at this point. I know you don’t believe this either but it’s true. You are learning how to drive, not how to win the Indy 500. And there will be rewards. Every so often a line an angle, maybe a whole drawing will strike you as not quite so awful. And that feeling will happen more and more.

Force yourself to do it on a schedule so your inner critic can’t talk you out of it each day. Twenty minutes after breakfast, forty five before bed, whatever.

It may sound like bullshit, but your inner critic is the one that is the one convincing you that the whole enterprise is a waste of time. But it is wrong.

Frustration is natural but irrelevant at this point. You are not and are not going to make anything frame-able or even pleasing at this point. That’s not the point. Work out, build your muscles, feel the rhythm and only then run a race. So your inner critic is right: everything you are doing is crap. That’s no reason to stop.

So go on, right now, get off the computer and just draw some object. Don’t think too hard about what it is, just draw it. Then turn the page and do it again.

Don’t think of why I’m wrong. Just do it.


Your pal,
Danny Gregory

PS For more of this sort of useless advice, read on.