After a year of taking on a new role at work while pursuing some fun acting gigs I’ve decided to return to my small but important (at least to me) little spot in the world wide web. To be fair, I never really made the decision to actively put this on pause while I did other things. I must own up to the boring and rather lame, yet true in this case, excuse that ‘life got in the way’.
I feel compelled to confess that during my hiatus from blogging I grappled with the feelings and thoughts around what it even means to have a blog. I started to think “who cares?, “its no good anyways” etc, etc. The thing that kept popping up that was far worse than your run of the mill creative struggle self-narrative was “why devote time and effort to something that will likely never make you any money?” Reader, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m not immune to the capitalistic ideas about what it means to be productive. Recently, something happened that put things into perspective for me.
A few weeks ago I re-read a short fiction story I wrote over three years ago for a writing contest (I didn’t win). It was okay, not great but not bad. In fact, it was better than I remembered. Shortly after this pleasantly surprising rediscovery of my older work, my boyfriend who had been working on a short story of his own expressed some frustration about his writing practice. His struggle brought to mind two poems on writing that I always return to, Berryman by W.S Merwin and That Little Beast by Mary Oliver.
I urge you to read both poems, but to distill them for the sake of this post the poems essentially say this: writing must be pursued with the absence of ego and an open, patient heart. These are things that one can’t achieve in writing when one is concerned with producing an outcome (in my case money) instead of simply producing art. Despite always feeling deeply rewarded just by doing the work of writing, its oftentimes easy for me to fall into the “what for?” narrative. How can creatives create more freely without becoming entangled in and distracted by the worries that come from simply existing in a world were financial comfort arguably makes life easier, or at the very least less stressful?
I started writing as a means of reaching outward, away from my neurosis and towards an enriching community of thinkers and creators and yet, I got caught up with normative standards on how one should spend their time. Its rather pitiful to be completely honest! I hope that as I continue to pursue my creative passions, that I won’t be so easily distracted by concerns of monetary gain or notoriety. But because I expect to continuously come up against this struggle, I want to ask others what keeps them creating? If you feel comfortable sharing, please do in the comments!