The Joys (and Frustrations) of Creation

I love creation. All kinds. I am primarily a writer, and I love to write, but there’s no kind of creation that I don’t enjoy partaking in, except for dance, which has always mystified me. By all accounts, I should like it, but I just don’t. I suppose the exception proves the rule.

As an English major with minors in creative writing and professional writing and rhetoric, I obviously love to write. I also love to read what others have written. I love the act of analyzing and writing about what others have written. Creating a well-crafted academic essay is beautiful and fulfilling, even if my heart belongs to writing poetry and writing for entertainment.

I love to create art and look at the art that others have created. I use my Twitter and Tumblr mostly for this purpose. Art is really important to me, and it’s why my tiny dorm’s wall looks like this:

My dorm room wall absolutely plastered with art, half of which is mine, half of which I purchased from artists I admire.

I love music, even though I recognize that I am not as naturally talented at it as I want to be. I took piano lessons for six years as a child, and I was in at least one choir at all times between third grade and graduating high school, but despite all the effort I’ve put in, I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to make music sound the way I’d like.

With music, I find myself constantly comparing myself to others. I know it’s the wrong way to judge yourself, but I’ve found it too hard to stop. It always seems like there are so many hard and fast rules in music that if I’m unable to live by, then all I’m making is unpleasant noise. As such, music has become something I enjoy creating more privately.

I have the same trouble with art sometimes, though it has been easier for me to recognize that people have many different tastes in art, and that any kind of art can be enjoyed. I even enjoy looking at children’s drawings. However, I don’t always enjoy children singing or attempting to play instruments. How my parents put up with me learning piano and recorder, I don’t know.

I especially love video games. They hold a special place in my heart as the perfect art form. They combine all of the creative things I love into one medium, plus they invite creativity or interactivity from the consumer. Video games combine art, music, writing, acting, and so many more fascinating creative disciplines. In some games, the architecture astonishes me. In others, historical research and accuracy delight me. In still others, creative and unique mechanics floor me. And I am given the opportunity to play along, to participate in these lovely worlds.

Obviously, since I love video games so much, there’s a part of me that loves to try to make them myself. However, I lack the necessary coding skills to do that, and the time to learn those skills. I’ve dabbled in creating Twine games, since the only true skills I need for that are writing, planning, the ability to not get trapped in a confusing web of your own making, and spelling (there’s no spell check).

I love acting and going to see plays. I try to go to as many as I can every year, and so far in 2020, I’ve already gone to two, both Shakespeare plays! Additionally, last week I played a gardener/butler/chauffeur during a murder mystery night that my coworkers and I created from scratch for an audience of up to 200. Hamming it up as a disgruntled overworked/underpaid employee was thrilling since I haven’t had that serious of an acting role since high school.

Me shortly before heading out to be a suspect in a murder mystery.

I’ve always been fascinated with multimedia production, like movies and podcasts. Growing up, I thought video and audio editing would be too difficult and complex for my abilities, but with the progression of technology, everything has become more accessible to beginners.

Last semester, I started a podcast with my friends, mostly so that I could teach myself how to really work with audio and create something I like. It’s been relatively straightforward to record the audio, edit it, and upload it. The simplicity of the process has truly amazed me.

Also last semester, I took an Adobe Premiere class that taught me the basics of editing with that software. I was flabbergasted by how easily I picked it up. I blame my misspent youth playing around in Photoshop (which translated to understanding how other Adobe Suite products work in general) and Windows Movie Maker (not to mention my more recent escapades with Vegas Pro).

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A scene from a video project I made last semester, a spoof of spy movies and youtube vloggers

I even enjoy forms of creation that are not generally thought of as “creative”. I love to code, though I’ve had very little practice in it. I coded my website from scratch in one of my classes, though a blog would be too tedious to update so I used WordPress for this tab. It was amazing seeing a website spring from something as simple as writing out HTML5 in the notebook application.

I like cooking and eating food other people have made. Cooking is a science and an art.

I like gardening, and I like admiring the handiwork of other people’s gardens (whether they are gardens planted by humans or by God). There’s something about nurturing a plant’s growth from seed to fruit that connects you to the most primal part of your creativity.

But creation, as much as I love it in all its forms, is difficult sometimes. It’s hard to stay motivated, especially when you’re only creating for the love of the art. It is easy for me to write when I’m in a creative writing class, fulfilling the assignment, but it’s hard when the only person that I am accountable to is myself.

I am writing this blog, for example, mainly for me. I wanted to write blog posts about my study abroad experience in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, but it was hard to keep motivated when I knew the blogs didn’t matter to anyone else.

The same is true of my novels, poetry, art, and even my podcast to some extent, although that is a group project, so if I don’t do it, I feel really guilty (but that didn’t stop me from sitting on a bunch of unedited recordings).

I am trying to get better at this. I think what it comes down to is some sort of a lack of self-respect. I respect everyone around me so much that I am always motivated to do the things that they ask me to do. But I don’t seem to have that same respect for myself.

I need to engrain it in myself that I am worth creating for. I am worthy of my own time and effort, and in the end, I will appreciate all the work I do more than anyone else ever could.

This blog post is a resolution to myself to keep creating, to hold myself accountable, to learn to respect my own time and effort enough to see things through to the end.

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