Creativity And Courage: Battles With Procrastination

alive: imprisoned man enjoying light streaming down on him
Alive. As yet unfinished piece that has been sitting untouched for nine months.

For me having a creative drive is a wonderful and cursed thing. On one hand I feel like it is the only thing I have to really offer, but on the other, I have completely failed to do anything substantial with it. For a number of years now I have had this growing sense of doom, as I’ve watched all my endeavours brought down by a lack of courage.

All creative endeavours require a huge investment of courage, whether the piece is created for cerebral appreciation, pure-candy, or a mix of both. Creative pursuits require investments of time, self-belief, and determination – courage by another name. Courage is what we call on when a piece gets wonky, goes awry, or when we encounter writer’s block. Courage is what we need to break through all the traps that can drag us down when we’re feeling weak, lost, tired, etcetera.

To date I have dozens of short stories, novels, digital art pieces, and one animation left unfinished. My hard drive is littered with the corpses of failed courage. Anxiety, depression, life falling apart; these have all been factors in why I have so much left undone. For some, creatively thrives in these situation, but this has not been my experience. Sometimes projects haven’t turned out because they weren’t properly thought out, little flash-in-the-pan-ideas that are more a feeling than anything – I’m not counting those here. Those feelings or ideas can often come in handy somewhere further down the line.

Every day is a new chance

And this is what we have to keep in mind: even if our courage fails us time and again, for whatever reasons, there is still the chance that today is the day we get started on that big idea, or get back to one we’ve left sit. Even if we start with something small. Start journaling, or blogging. Every day is a new chance to challenge habits of procrastination and get going. Every day is a chance to do all those amazing creative things we didn’t do yesterday. We can reverse the trend of years slipping through our hands, as we postpone our dreams. Yeah, that sounds good! Let’s do that. Let’s stop wasting our talents. …but when picking up these tasks it is easy to be overwhelmed by all sorts of thoughts.

Some thoughts that bother me:

  • Is the idea good enough?
  • Is it worth it?
  • Is there some better way to spend my time?
  • What’s the point?
  • Even if it is good no one will care.
  • It’s utterly futile.
  • I’m going to die and it’ll all mean nothing, forgotten in the blink of an eye.
  • Maybe I’ll get a head start on that that death thing.
  • No, maybe I’ll just get drunk and piss the day away.

The answer to all these questions? It doesn’t matter; do it anyway. If, like me, you subscribe to the idea that life has no inherent meaning, then what can be a greater goal than to pursue work that we enjoy doing? For me, ultimately I know I can do more good for myself and others by writing than I can do by forcing myself into situations that awaken crippling anxiety and depression. With that I am getting back to work on my most promising and complete novel. Laters.

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