Why Do You Create?
As I was uploading the music I created for my last three podcasts to my Patreon site I noticed one of those little auto-fill messages you get on web forms. This one asked: “Why do you create?”
Narrowing my focus to: why do I create music for my podcasts, I came up with three answers.
1. If You Want to Do More of What You Love, Do More of What You Love
Makes sense, right? If I want to spend more of my time making music, then just incorporate it into what I’m already doing. Make it a habit, the way getting my free weekly horoscope column written by Sunday night each week was a habit for seven years.
2. Engaging My Curiosity and Rising to a Challenge
The challenge of knowing I’m going to create something new, put something out there each week, engages my curiosity and motivates me. It’s like a dare: “You can’t do that!” Oh yeah? Watch me!
In the last month, I’ve probably had two weeks where the music flowed out pretty easily. Ocean Moon Undertow, (the MP3 attached to this post) would be one of those. It just popped out one night as I was preparing to record the pod. Same with the Pink Floyd cover from Dark Side of the Moon; I was planning on playing a different song but I started warming up playing that one and I hit record and there it was.
The two other pods I recorded this month – man! I procrastinated, I struggled, I resisted, I changed my mind 87 times about what piece of music I should record. I considered quitting: “Hey, who said I have to have new music every single week? Your listeners don’t care. Just skip it.”
Boredom and dull routines are death to my soul. One reason I’m angling for a radio gig (meaning: a live weekly show that affords me the luxury of a sidekick/tech-handler/someone to take calls and answer chats and goad me on) is that a live environment provides the chaos, unpredictability, and randomness that keep things fresh. A podcast is a weird bird. You’re sitting in your room talking to a bunch of imaginary people who can’t even hear you – in linear time, anyway. A man could get lonely there.
3. Practicing Rejection Therapy
Hey, the feedback on this experiment so far has been super positive, warm, and encouraging. But I can already hear the ego/saboteur whispering his little lies: “People really loved what you did last week. You’d better not blow it. Have to be better every week.”
Which, on the face of it, is just a stupid line of thought. No one is consistently perfect or great. Especially four weeks into a new artistic phase. So I’m fighting to stay aware of that “voice of knowledge” – Don Miguel Ruiz’s term for the parasitic liar in our heads. And remind myself that one of my arch-goals as a somewhat grown-up intent on reclaiming my blissful birthright is to learn to handle rejection gracefully. Rather than striving to avoid it at any costs, which pretty much characterizes my non-inebriational life history so far.
I want more wonderful. Ergo, I need to grow up and see ‘rejection’ for what it is, a natural part of reality. It’s hard to do anything really wonderful if you can’t handle the fact that, most of the time, some people are going to like what you do and some people are doing to dislike it. A few are going to absolutely love it and a few are going to hate it.
Plus, at least some of what we categorize as rejection is actually useful, well-intentioned feedback that can help us grow as artists.
What have you been avoiding out of fear of ‘rejection’?