The Work of Creating


It’s 8:55am as I’m sitting down to write.  I haven’t written in a few days which always has a vicious way of making me feel the itch to write while I continue to dash around my house doing things like baking bread for no apparent reason, moping my kitchen floor even though I mopped it the day before yesterday, and making a list of what size and color frames I need to complete the gallery wall in the living room because that’s seems of high importance at this very moment although that the wall has been completely blank since moving in two months ago.

It’s in these moments that I find all sorts of things to do that are instantly gratifying, like cleaning and cooking and little projects here and there, rather than sitting down with my butt in the chair and doing that work of writing that I know so badly my mind and my soul needs to do.

For some reason I have this bizarre idea that writing time doesn’t count unless it’s for something specific, like my blog, book, another publication etc.

But that’s an outrageous ridiculous thing to think.

Of course writing time ‘counts’ even if its just for the pure sake of writing.

Writing time just for the heck of it, I would even argue, is more important, more crucial, than time spent writing for a particular project or post because of what it does for our wild and racing minds and what it conjures up in our souls.

So here I am, it’s just past 9am now and I keep thinking about a quote from Steven Pressfields book The War of Art where he quotes Somerset Maugham by saying

‘I write only when inspiration strikes, fortunately it strikes every morning at 9 o’clock sharp.’

That quote is one I love that because it perfectly sums life for any creative.

You do work the same way you would if you actually had to shower, put on dress pants and show up to the office at 9am that you need to do in your yoga pants with unwashed hair in the comfort of your own home.

You just sit down and do your work. 

You do it on the boring days, on the ones where you feel an undercurrent of irritation in your bones that you can’t exactly pinpoint the cause, you do it when you’d rather do a million other instantly gratifying things that in the end are of far lesser value.

You sit down and do your work.

The work we do when inspiration has not struck us in some glamorous way, when writing feels more like a chore and like discipline, when we are writing or creating for no particular project and for what appears to be no particular reason from the outside, I’m convinced that work is the most important and the most sacred.

You can’t put a price tag on creativity, not really and truly at least.

Time spent creating is never wasted even when we think it’s only for us.

The truth is, when we sit down to write or create, that very act of sitting down to do that work is brave.

It’s a brave act and it summons others and encourages them to do the same.

So let’s sit down and do our work of creating. 

Pressfield sums of The War of Art with this quote that I’ll leave you with today

‘Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got.’