On: Stretching

I came up with a lot of titles for this essay. Here are some of the ones that I could've used:

  • On: Creativity
  • On: Making Things Anyway
  • On: Burning Out
  • On: Doing Your Best
  • On: Not Settling (for Mediocrity)
  • On: Working Harder Than You Would Like to be Working
  • Life Would Probably Be Easier if You Never Tried to Improve at Anything But I Think That That Would be a Loss, Here's Why:

I've been thinking about the idea of endeavors lately, especially creative ones. As I'm sure a lot of you have heard, there is

a wonderful quote

 from Ira Glass that talks about not making the quality of {insert whatever creative endeavor} you wish you could, or that you know you're capable of. And I think it's easy to get caught up in that. I'm no stranger to that kind of honest disappointment, when you just know, in your soul, that there are miles to go before you sleep.

This kind of discouragement fosters the most unfair catch-22. You don't want to create things anymore and so, as a result, you won't get any better at creating that thing. Creativity begets creativity. And when you have a drought of creative energy, you don't want to make things anymore. When you don't want to make things anymore, it gets easier to—you guessed it—stop making things. The cure to not wanting to create things? Creating things! (Have you ever heard anything more unfair? ;)

I've been feeling a little bit of a creative drought myself. I have many valid excuses that I could employ to avoid the hard, consistent work that comes with self improvement, in whatever form.

That's a thought that makes me sad. I want to create things, which includes creating myself, by the way. And so I've renewed my efforts in consistently working to closing those gaps, whether the gaps be related to

being a better person


 writing, cinematography, and one just for me: shooting more personal work—and shooting it on film.

The photograph at the end of this post is one of the first things I ever shot on medium format film. I got my first scans back today. Why is this something that I'm spending time and effort (and money) on? Because it makes me happy. Because it makes me a better person. Because it helps me better understand light. Because I like it.

I think it's easy (myself very, very much included) to let our creative work take the back burner when it gets difficult to continue—when the act of creating something is stretching us beyond where we are comfortable—when we hit a wall, when we have a big gap to overcome. But something that I'm learning (via a lot of trial and error) is that closing that gap is when we grow the most, as an artist and as a human being. And also, that it's worth it.

The joy is in the journey—we just usually spend our sweet time figuring that out.

POST SCRIPT: when I don't feel inspired sometimes I watch

this scene


My Best Friend's Wedding

 (by God! They'll be dancing!) and I drink some tea and then I feel ready to make some things tomorrow. Whatever works, ya know?