This is a guest post by Kelly Diels.
Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you’re an artisan. Maybe you’re a writer (or you want to be).
Yes, let’s say you’re a writer.
(Because even if you’re an artist, entrepeneur, and crafter, you also need to be a writer. Your online world demands it. It demands About Pages and bios and blog posts. And it demands good ones.)
So maybe you’re a writer. (No maybe about it.) Maybe you share space with your family. Maybe space is tight. Maybe the only place with space to write is the teeny-tiny desk at the centre of an itsy-bitsy living room.
(Maybe this sounds like your place? I know it sounds like mine.)
And maybe people – your family, their friends, your friends – are coming and going, coming and going, coming and going.
Maybe it’s hard to concentrate.
No maybe about it.
So maybe you’d be forgiven for thinking that finishing your magnum opus – or starting it! – is impossible in these conditions.
Maybe you need your own space…preferably a well-appointed, well-lit, well-equipped workspace NOT populated by other creatures who share strands of your DNA. A quiet space. A space without a phone to ring when your boss wants you to work an extra shift. Because of course in this fantasy space, you don’t have a job. Or a boss. Or distractions. Or bills to pay, kids and cats to feed, and a spouse and laundry to do.
(Strike the second-to-last item from that list. Maybe doing that will help with your creative life.)
(And your relationship.)
(No maybe about it.)
And maybe then, maybe when conditions – space, quiet, equipment, money, time, full-body bliss – are ideal, you’ll create. You’ll produce. You’ll make. You’ll make a living.
And maybe angels are singing and the sun is shining and a kitten just slid down a rainbow and handed you a cupcake with a cheque for a million dollars signed by a team of unicorns.
Because they exist. Just like those fantastic conditions for creativity.
But nobody can be expected to create under these circumstances. Your circumstances. The worry about money. What other people will think. The lack of time. The cramped conditions. The crappy tools. The absolute absence of privacy. The demands of family and friends. A society largely hostile to your artistic aspirations.
No, nobody could make masterpieces under those circumstances.
Except maybe Jane Austen.
She did it because she kept doing it. She kept writing and write she did: she wrote Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park and Emma and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion at a small desk in a small living room in a small house on a small budget with an even smaller amount of social support. Like, no social support at all…other than perhaps some paternalistic pats on the head. Because she was a lady-writer, y’all! And ladies weren’t writers and writers weren’t ladies!
But genteel Jane Austen was a fighter.
Every artist needs to be a fighter.
And in every fight, your first adversary is not your circumstances. Your enemy is the fantasy that you need any special tool, course, or course of action other than your talent, practice, and perseverance. Your enemy is the fantasy that you need to make a dramatic change – quit your job, get a studio, get rich – to make anything at all.
Your enemy is the fantasy that maybe one day the conditions for creativity will be ideal. And maybe then you’ll get started.
But maybe the conditions for creativity will never be ideal.
And maybe you can do it anyway.
No maybe about it.
Kelly Diels likes to do it. She’s a wildly hire-able copywriter (bios, About Pages, blog posts, oh my!) and the literary incarnation of Mae West…if Mae West moved to the suburbs, gained baby weight that is now school-age, wrote a feisty blog (Cleavage, it’s a sexy word that means more than you might think), and taught online artists, entrepreneurs and provocateurs how to write. Well.