If You Want To Be Creative, Quit Complaining
Let’s be real. If you’re a creative type, you’re going to feel some element of turmoil. A troubled artist, if you will. That’s because the creative struggle is real; if it was easy to constantly create, everyone would be doing it. So we write, whinge, paint, complain, dance and whinge some more.
After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”, I was enlightened to the fact that being creative and constantly complaining don’t have to go hand-in-hand. It seems obvious, but… is it?
There are four main reasons for this and, I’m not going to lie, they’re blunt. Warning: if you’re not a fan of tough love, maybe move onto the next article!
1. It’s annoying.
No one likes a whinger, and no one likes hearing themselves whinge, either. As Gilbert says, “Every artist complains. It’s a dead and boring topic.”
Feeling bogged down with negativity is time consuming and soul sucking, both for the complainer and the listener. And for the creative soul, they often need a sense of calm and clarity to be able to establish a creative flow.
Whinging and complaining sets a certain path in motion, and that path isn’t a good one. Negativity often breeds negativity, so the more you whinge, the more you’ll find to whinge about. Suddenly, the world of creativity doesn’t seem like such a great place to be — and this shouldn’t be the case. Not if you live and breathe it.
2. It’s part and parcel.
It’s unlikely that anyone forced you to be a creative type. We usually venture into creative fields and hobbies because we love it, need it, crave it.
As mentioned before, being creative is hard work. It’s a skill that needs to be honed and sometimes, it can even be lonely. But it’s a wonderful realm to be in and let’s be honest, would we really have it any other way?
There’s a lot of bad in the world, but your life as a creative isn’t one of them. Your creative project is a good thing. Your desire to make things is a good thing. Your creative potential is a good thing. A creative life is nothing to complain about.
3. No one really cares.
Everyone has their own struggles to deal with, particularly your fellow creatives.
No one really cares about your writer’s block, because they likely have writer’s block too. They don’t really care if you’re not sure what to paint today, or if you can’t seem to get the choreography correct, or if your photographs didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Your listeners have either a) been there themselves already, and possibly frequently or b) heard it all before.
A struggling creative? Wow, what a unique concept...
Okay, your loved ones may lend an ear or shoulder, but there’s usually not much they can really do to help you. Being a creative is usually a solo journey. And as humans, if we can’t offer help or assistance and feel worthwhile, it genuinely is hard to care.
It may seem cruel, but it’s actually quite liberating. You realise what a waste of time it is to complain, to not want to create anything today, to feel uninspired, to feel a sense of dread and foreboding whenever you think of creating something.
If no one cares about your excuses, why bother with the excuses at all? You’re creating for you, because you love it. Instead of complaining, spend more time creating. You can’t do both.
4. It deters inspiration.
If you’re complaining, you’re blocking the way for inspiration.
Try and envision your complaints/negativity as an opposing magnet towards creativity/inspiration. The more you complain, the more you push inspiration away. As Gilbert states in her book, “I have felt the way my self-pity slams the door on inspiration, making the room feel suddenly cold, small and empty.”
Creating should be a fun thing. It’s part of your DNA and it’s what you love. The inspiration and creation side of it should be super enjoyable, so why waste time hyping yourself up with the negative?
Take a deep breath, and get on with it. The less time you spend complaining, the more open you are to that golden nugget of inspiration that could lead to your next best thing.
These are rather cold, harsh truths, but I personally love a good dose of reality. Sometimes, it’s just what we need to get the ball rolling again. We can all agree that being creative is sometimes difficult and tiring… but nothing good will come from dwelling on it except further exhaustion and less work. Remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place and how good being creative feels. It’s really not all bad.