Raw Thoughts of a Creative: November 2017 Edition
At the beginning of the year, I set some very realistic goals of submitting six unique pieces in competitions or for publication in new markets, an average of about one every other month. I thought this was setting the bar a little low, to be honest with you. I had just come off a phenomenal end to 2016, hitting the Amazon best-seller list with my Christmas anthology of fiction, essays, and assorted ponderings.
So here we are just days away from December 2017, and a quick check at the submission checklist leaves little room for interpretation of how this year has gone:
Submissions: 7. Rejections: 7.
As if that isn’t bad enough, my journaling has dried up to a wandering banter of nothingness, stale air of words that, when pushed together on the page, signify nothing.
Depressing, to say the least.
I’m wondering if other creatives are feeling the same way, experiencing the same funk, and questioning the quantity of quality work still in the creative well.
I’m certainly not short of assumptions why this might be. The situation in our country has polarized most of us, and nothing is shocking us anymore. Terrorists are killing Americans on our own soil by the dozens per incident, and we are tired of lifting thoughts and prayers, angry that our efforts in action are not enough, furious of the partisan politics that comes into the double-standard ways of American Life here in 2017.
There have been paralyzing challenges within my own family and friend circle, and that’s enough to strangle the creative quill from budging across the page.
It seems like everything I want to write about I can’t, or won’t, because I don’t want to deal with the politicization of it.
So what do we do? I feel like I just need to keep writing, push through it. But the truth is that I don’t even have a passion anymore for what’s on the other side of the product. I’m not interested in marketing my work, making a point, even changing a life.
I’m just so angry and fed up with where we all are. It seems like the older I get, the more I see so transparently how exhaustive the battle is just to keep things at status quo.
I want to make a difference, but I wonder if that’s possible anymore.
I’ll end this post with an encouraging (I hope) thought:
We all get tired from time to time, worn and beaten down by the frustration, the attacks against us, the bewilderment over how we can get to where we are as a society. I think all creatives, for centuries, go through this. We end up lying on the mat, bloodied, tired, near resignation. We’ve been here so many times. Is it really worth it to get up one more time?
The answer: Yes. It is always worth it. Push your bloody knuckles into the sweat-covered mat and push yourself up. Grab hold of the rope and lift yourself to stare all that fights you squarely in the face, and carry on, whether it is with a pen, a brush, or a guitar pick. We are still alive, and we are still here. We are still commanded to do our work and capture this time as only we can.
So reject me another seven times. I don’t really care. And another seven. And maybe even another seven. Go right ahead. Because one of these times, I’m going to break through, and you are going to know what this relentless Creative is all about.
No. I will not go gently. And to all the other creatives out there struggling: Hang in there. I believe in you as I know you believe in me. Together, we cannot be silenced.