“Why wouldn't you want to do your best creatively and produce something amazing?” That was the question my wife asked as we brushed our teeth two nights ago. We had just watched Tomorrowland and I was waxing on how the movie did nothing for me due to it's predictability and general laziness on all fronts. And no, it's not because George Clooney's hair has greyed better than mine. She was asking the question that I have asked countless time, “where is the drive to make something different?” There have been countless Fast and Furious movies, I have lost track of the amount of super-heroes currently on the big screen, and everything from music to literature to art is being diluted down and thrown on the conveyor belt of mediocrity to make room for the next pile of replicated drivel.
But there is also a counter-revolution to this unimaginative bait. True creatives are re-writing the rules and showing us that the process of staying true to one's art is something that does not come with a price tag. That being fearless and uncompromising yields far more than a lucrative paycheck.
In any creative endeavour that makes it into the mainstream, it has usually taken a lot of time and work for it to get there. The whole overnight success thing is pretty much a myth. Take my brother, for example: Jack Septiceye—aka my little brother, Seán—is a YouTube superstar. I mean huge! When the guy travels to the United States for a gaming conference, it's like Beatle-mania. He signs things for people for something like twelve straight hours a day. People always ask him how they can become famous just like him. His reply, “work your ass off.” There's no magic bullet. He works from early morning till late at night every single day, no days off. But most of all, he loves what he does. Loves it!
I recently found a great essay by Elle Luna. I'm late to the party, admittedly, but still worth sharing. The Crossroads of Should and Must is, very simply put, about taking that leap of faith out of security and into the unknown. Elle talks about the importance of digging deep when looking out over the cliff and being afraid to take the leap. This is the case for a lot of people, but the risk is not always taken. I recently quit the security of my day job in order to freelance. I said goodbye to having a full-time contract, paid vacation, and other benefits. Am I scared? Heck, yes. Have I made the right decision? Absolutely. If I were to make a list of the bad things that could happen due to this decision and compare it to a list of good things that could happen, there would be no comparison. The list of positivity is long, varied, and exciting.
I want to be part of the movement of people that are reclaiming art in the name of pure creative process. I want to push myself to be the best that I can be in the hope I can forge something pure- the validation for it coming only from an inner sense of being disciplined and open to anything. In my book, I likened it to tuning a radio:
"The hardest part is taking the leap, which really isn’t that hard. But there’s an uncertainty in your mind that tells you it is. It’s effort. It’s that part of your brain that tells you to have a smoke or go and meet the guys for a beer—that’s the quick route to satisfaction. That’s the voice you need to turn off—the voice I needed to turn off. Inside everyone is a drive to do something they are passionate about, but that voice rarely gets heard because it’s drowned out by everyday interferences and short term distractions. Tuning into it is like tuning a radio, if you keep spinning the dial, all you’ll get is a racket, but if you know what you’re looking for, if you focus on finding the specific channel, you will hear the symphony. It might take time to find the channel that’s in sync with your passion, but you have to start turning the dial and seeking the right station."
As a writer, I have a responsibility to my craft that if distorted, for any purpose other than the truth—whether it be to make money or gain popularity—serves only to belittle the reader, not build them up. Being creative is when we feel most confident and assured. The world makes sense to us and we can expound confidently on our chosen subject. So, embrace your creative side and come alive!