In the pause: The difficult and uncertain trade-offs of creative work

“It’s a real book!”

That’s what my friend, Alex, said to me when she saw the layout proof of the first page of my novel. She’s right; everyday Emerson becomes more real. For many years, her spirit lived in my mind. I had to introduce her to the world. So I started to write down her story. There were nights I didn’t go out. Places I didn’t go, things I didn’t do, people I didn’t see because I chose to stay home and write. I could have poured that time and effort into many other things. Some people thought I should (and told me so); they thought writing the book was a waste of time. All creative work looks like a waste of time until it’s done.

Now that the book will be published on November 1st, it’s easy to say and see that I wasn’t wasting my time, that it was worth the effort. But that’s not always the case. I toiled for years with no outward progress on it. Many times creative projects are like that—slow, uncertain, and frustrating. The thing is that I couldn’t stop writing the story. It would have haunted me. Emerson’s voice would have gotten louder and louder and louder until I had to sit down and write it. Creators have to create as much as they need to breathe, eat, and sleep. It’s a vital process.

So if you’re in the midst of a creative project, one that’s taking longer than you’d like, one that other people don’t understand, it’s okay. Every person who’s ever created anything has felt exactly what you’re feeling at some point in their own process. That’s part of the journey. Do the work you know you need to do, and tune out the noise. When it’s done, and I promise you that you can finish it!, the amount of pride and gratitude will be overwhelming in the best possible way.

2 thoughts on “In the pause: The difficult and uncertain trade-offs of creative work”

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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