Sunday, March 04, 2007

Creativity Quota

Thirty-three minutes to Monday. Sounds like the title to a song. It has been a busy weekend, perhaps one of the busiest yet this year. It’s interesting that, although not busy in an overwhelming way, I have been engaged in some sort of activity that was planned to one degree or another since Friday afternoon. But I haven’t done very much writing. And I am having trouble deciding what I want to say and how I want to say it - even now.

Life has its ups and downs, or perhaps more accurately, it has its ebbs and flows. Indeed, life these days is rarely “down,” but it definitely cycles in an odd sort of multidimensional wave. Different aspects, or creative processes of my existence might be in bloom while others are dormant. To further complicate the paradigm, these cycles are of varying length; they could be as short as a few hours to as long as many years. And, of course, they are subject to change without notice.

I suppose, too, it is probable that these discrete processes are not entirely independent of each other; that there is probably at least some cursory interrelation between them. Perhaps it is this interlacing of all these various and sundry components that make up each of our unique experiences. Maybe because I spent a great deal of time shooting pictures this weekend, the urge to express myself creatively in other ways - like writing - was mitigated. Or it could be that nothing much has struck me profoundly enough that I was compelled to document it. I know that I can just throw down words at will. I know this, but…

But what about that will? I have known for a very long time - at least as far back as junior high school - that I have the capability and the faculties to do most anything. And when I say anything, I mean just that. True, at this stage in my life there are a number of things that are beyond my capabilities, but when I was young, nothing was. And I think I knew it even then. All the same, most anything is still within my grasp. It’s not a matter of if I can or not; it’s a matter of if I will. It has always been a matter of willingness.

It should be apparent by now that I have found the willingness to write something before this weekend has come to a close. It is now four minutes to Monday and in at least this one aspect, the weekend is now complete. These cycles, these irregular, multidimensional, interrelated yet independent, life-defining cycles are not completely random and can be influenced by attitude. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to get willing. Willingness combined with capability, however, still did not produce anything.

The final component - the key, really - to this model is responsible not only for the words that appear here, but also for the lack thereof all weekend. Work. Willingness without action means nothing. Capability unrealized is worthless. It takes effort; it takes action; it takes work. I have not written all weekend not because I have been busy not writing, but because I have been busy doing other things. Did taking numerous photos on Saturday fill some sort of creativity quota? Maybe, but it depends upon how one defines "creative."

If defined broadly enough, all results from work represent creation; consequently all work is creative. In that respect, I have been creative all weekend. I’m not so sure the taking of pictures, as a specific activity, supplanted the need to write. It was either the process of expending energy - creative energy - all weekend that kept me away from the keyboard or, one could argue, the need to express myself through the written word wasn’t supplanted at all; the evidence is before you. The bottom line is simple enough: If I do nothing, nothing happens. Although the words often come very easily (tonight, not so much), they never write themselves - someone has to write them.


awareness said...

I'm wondering if perhaps you tapped my brain??

Many of the same questions (and some of the same answers too!) have rattled in my noggin' this weekend...... not a lot of writing from these fingertips over the past week for many reasons, most of which is that I havent had access or time.

creativity never sleeps...... it's taking it a a step further and making the effort through action after some stewing and stirring time. that's how I am rationalizing my personal lack of word flow.

great post, Mike.......

enjoy your busy productive creative marvellously inspiring week!!


Ellen said...

I wish I had more time to write, more time to visit, and more time to comment. Am I suffering from writers block?.... well, a little maybe. But it mostly is due to the influx of expressing my creative resources on remodeling my kitchen. A long and very overdue project that has been in my mind since moving in 14 years ago. I finally took the plunge on a color choice and started last week. What a job, and what a long process it is to cover 1970's decor with the lighter colors of today.

Yup, so true, creativity has many faces and outlets.... now if only I had the time to get it all done in 24 hours..... Lucky for me, I have a few minutes to spare in order to catch up here as I wait for the paint to dry.

Jenn said...

Sometimes it's just very hard to get started.

Lee Ann said...

Keep on being creative....Have a great week!

Snaggle Tooth said...

Landscapes to dream of - can almost hear the water-
Having good tools (cam) helps the visionary.

I tend to work to merge all the different creative capabilities I have together, finding relationships between the inspiration of all, words, music, images.
Looks like you're beginning to do that too- It will only help the quality of your journalism become polished n better designed for display.
Or the photography can become purely recreational. If the writing could always feel more like play...

chrysalis said...

Mostly on Sunday nights I wonder how the bloody it's almost Monday again.

michelle said...

i wish i had more time to create. I set aside Thurdsays to get my hands dirty, but life happens and i have to work overtime and visit friends and I don't always get to do what I want to do. Then weeks go by and I get all antsy and cranky and i feel like I "haven't done anything!" I do try to get some photos taken everyday, so that quells some of my creative needs.

Lady Prism said...

oh' meeee' gaaawd..oh'...shuuuucks..he!he!he!..I feel like somebody knows what I'm doing..or um'..NoT DoInG!!...( red in the he!he!)...

Okaay i admit it!..I have been shirking from the work I should be doing..I should be writing my training materials but I am for like more than an hour already just cruising through lovely bloggies'...let me see..been to garden blogs..vintage blogs...friend blogs...goosh..

..." if I do nothing..nothing happens........words come easily but they never write themselves..."

whooohee!...stupefied here he!he!' gonna' work now. Mr. Althouse..thanks for the b-day greet..and for this oh' sooo potent post!

( but first to call for super pepperoni pizza!..:]

Belizegial said...


I do agree. thanks for the reminder to get off my behind and do what I need to do. Actually have some deadlines pending too.

Reading back through your recent post, I like this line which you wrote.

"There are many, many lessons I’ve learned the hard way, through trial and error. One is that if I take my eye off the ball, I’ll surely miss. If I rush too fast toward that light at the end of the tunnel, it will blind me."

So true, so true!!

Have a great Thursday up ahead.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

These pictures are wonderful Mike...! The Truckee? YES!
How do you get them to be so big when you click on them....Is that something one can only do in the "new" Beta Blogger?
Anyway...I agree with you about Creativity...whether it is writing or taking pictures or sewing quilts or painting, etc., etc., etc...