Creativity is an exhausting slog, punctuated by moments of joy

Photo by Mike Higdon

He’s just tired, he just finished writing a really long blog post. Photo by Mike Higdon

Creativity vacillates between dopamine-fueled highs and soul-sucking lows. That’s what makes it so fun and terrifying. It’s not for everybody.

People write all these blog posts about how to be creative, I assume, for the folks who are already creative but are currently living on the soul-sucking half of the wave and need someone to tell them how to be creative all. day. long.

Or maybe it’s for people who don’t think they are creative and want to be part of the cool kids club. Trust me, the club sucks, you don’t want to join it.

These random posts tell you to drink coffee or do goat yoga, journal every morning or some other routine. If that works  for you, that’s awesome. But those people can suck it. Don’t let someone tell you how to be creative.

You’re not supposed to be creative 100% of the time, because that’d be like pumping heroin into your body on the reg. Seriously. Go take a nap or something.

A sine wave actually describes the moods of a creative person.

Being creative is not a routine. It’s moments of self-hate punctuated by painstaking success driven by startling moments of inspiration and follow through. The most we can do is prepare ourselves for those moments by practicing and learning about the thing we think we’re passionate about at that period in our life.

Frequently, we think of something that inspires us and by the time we turn off the shower or park the car, the idea sounds boring. And that’s OK.

Besides, most people are creative. You don’t have to do something with bright colors to be creative. I admire structural engineers, doctors and mathematicians. They do something I cannot do. It’s all creative problem solving.

This is not an advice post. Do what you want. It’ll be great. Or it’ll suck. It’s fine.

If you want to be creative in a different way than you are now, take some time to learn a skill. Practice. Harass people who are better than you until they are your friend and tell you their secret.

When I’m feeling low, I like to go to museums and look at other people’s brains splattered onto a canvas (I mean literally that’d be gross, so metaphorically). It helps me get outside of my own head.

Photo by Mike Higdon

Here is a picture of someone’s head to give you an example. Photo by Mike Higdon

But when you do something you love, it’s an amazing feeling. I can usually ride that to the next thing and come up with a week’s worth of amazing work before I’m drained. Then I need to recharge and find something else.

Being creative is often having the arrogance to think you’re righter than everyone else. Don’t believe me? Listen to this awesome podcast episode that proves my point (see what I did there?).

With the 365 photo project, I’ve hit the point where I’m so ready to be done, that I’m counting down the days. For April, I shot a picture of Fourth Street each day. But that’s also been tough. Reno is so devoid of people on the street, that I get a lot of urban landscape shots. Or people don’t want their picture taken, so I take something else.

People inspire me. I absolutely love taking pictures of people. It brings me an amazing joy to see how other people live, walk, emote, sit, stand, lean, smoke, talk, gestures. I can’t get enough of their stupid faces. I love people. But there aren’t enough of them. It kills me. UGh, I hate empty streets and people-less frames.

Photo by Mike Higdon

I get you. Photo by Mike Higdon

I have two months left, 61 days, 72 frames. But I’ve never missed a day since June 2016. It’s brutal. It’s painful. It’s rewarding. I hate it. I love it. I want to take more pictures. I never want to take a picture again.

What am I going to do May and June? Oy. Who knows. Could be anything. Maybe it’ll be exciting. It’s summer after all. Maybe I’ll find some sunny faces.