by Eliza West
Blog Bastion Entry
|In regards to Elizabeth Gilbert's perspective of creativity, I have this to say. It can be stressful to think about how your work will be perceived and that the work you put in can be judged by the best work you've put out or the worst you've put out or even where you are in you're journey. There is stress in comparing yourself to others, to being compared to others. Success is relative, and if you judge it by what people think, then you will inevitably be both elated and disappointed many times throughout your life.
However, that is where my agreement with her perspective ends. I have always enjoyed simply making work for myself. While I don't often sit on the couch with Netflix or a good movie, I do write every day as if the words were the blood in my veins. If I go one day without writing, the days feels off. If I go two days without writing, I feel off. And if I go three days without writing, the world seems off. And as a pianist, the same goes for making music. In essence, I feel a passion for my art. From the many biographies of other artists of many genres, I see that this is not uncommon. Art is the expression of the soul, whether in music, paint, or pencil. That is why, suffering and creativity are connected. There is joy in expression which is choked when that quality or expression is judged.
In addition, if artists have a passion for what they do and accept that God has given them these gifts, if they simply do not care what the world thinks and create simply for themselves, then the rest will follow. For most of the part, money and fame have been merely the aftereffects of an artist's need to create. Art provides an outlet, but if one ceases to see it as such and put more value on people's opinions than their enjoyment of their work, then the torment and depression are understandable.
Satisfaction in one's craft first and in their growth as an artist, taking joy not in people's opinion but in learning from the failings and enjoying the unique gift the artist has. That is the secret to harnessing creativity and dealing with the frustration of the process: to know it has been given to you, that every failure is merely a creative opportunity and life's best teacher for refining your talents, and that success is the aftermath of the human's natural desire to express.