I'm at a bit of a loss when thinking about a theme for this week's post, as it's been a long and busy week. At the same time I've had a fairly pleasurable week on account of picking up some new music, which I find always inspires creativity. So maybe that's something to talk about…
Once upon a time when I was much younger, I wanted to be a musician. For a few years I took guitar lessons and spent most of my lunch breaks in the music rooms at school, practicing on my own or mucking around with friends. It didn't take long to know that I would never be very good, so I eventually stopped trying to get better and just accepted what I had learned. I can still play at an intermediate level, but have never really pursued it further.
In some way the same could be said about any vocation, but I think it's especially relevant for creative applications. Writing, reading, painting, drawing, dancing, acting… you name it, they all take time and practice to develop, but when do you know that you can't go any further?
There's some debate about whether skill is inherently obtained by a few lucky individuals, or if it can be learned by anyone given the right amount of practice. I've always thought it must be a mix of the two, as there are clear tasks that come more easily to us than others. However, to be skilled at anything, I think it takes time and effort to improve. Probably not much of a revelation, but something I try to remember when it feels like the path ahead is dark and foreboding.
Every artist I've ever spoken to has always had other artists or art that they look up to and are inspired by. It's a natural process to find examples of how others have done what you're doing better, so that you may be motivated by the possibility of improving and expanding on what came before. Our inspiration and influences serve as benchmarks for progress and historical informants on how to iterate on their work. Without a knowledge of the masters of the past, we can't possibly hope to bring a unique and original voice to the world. This is how I think of inspiration and why it is often so important.
By the same token, if I ever want to make myself question any artistic pursuits, all I need to do is spend an hour online looking at the amazing work that others are producing. I'm not a competitive person, so it's not about trying to be better than others, it's a simple existential reality check. If I am to spend my life chasing creative projects and attempting to make a living from doing so, I need to have some sort of hope that such a thing is possible. It becomes the difference between a hobby and a career, and I've yet to meet someone who wouldn't turn their hobby into a career if they were given the opportunity.
There's more to life though, which bring on the existential malaise when you're tasked with weighing up what to sacrifice. We only have a certain amount of time and to be honest, I want to fill my life with positivity, love, and relationships with others. Again, probably not a revelation and something that is common for a lot of people, but we all the desire and need to earn a living in some form or another, to give life a chance to bloom.
Therein lies the question: to struggle for something you love doing, or do something else that leaves more time for everything else. I'm not very good at balancing these things and generally spend more time trying to do what I want to do, rather than what I arguably should be doing.
It's why I love music so much and why that thought triggered this train of thought. Listening to music is transformative and transcendent in so many ways. It has the ability to teleport us away from the banal mechanical requirements of living, to a realm of possibility and creative freedom. I guess that's the goal for any inspiration, so find whatever suits you and use it.
So far these weekly posts have just been simple doodles of thoughts and void of any technical development or purpose. I'd like to see an improvement over time with more detail and care taken in the weeks to come, but it always depends on circumstance. Some of the ideas you've already seen in previous posts will be fleshed out eventually, but I wonder if things will improve.
This is all part of why I started writing these things down in this blog, as it serves to give purpose to what might otherwise be an uneventful hobby. I don't mind so much if it never goes anywhere, but I'd like to at least spend some time trying. After all, I have a bit of time up my sleeve in the grand scheme of things, so I'd rather do this than any number of alternatives.
Maybe one day I'll write a brain dump that makes sense as well. Reading back on some of these posts is a little worrying…