Creative frustration a.k.a. is it time to stop trying so hard?


Somewhere around 21 or 22, I listen, numb, and subconsciously pull on the label of my Sierra Nevada. I barely care about what he is saying; I stare at the stars, and linger on the tangy aftertaste. He stops me and interjects, “what are you doing?” I retract. He says, “That’s a sign of being sexually frustrated you know?” We laugh and he lights a cigarette.

I’m not sure if there’s a creative equivalent to the feeling, the fear of success, the pressure to perform, the ideas you want so badly to execute all at once, the things you have yet to try, trying to recapture the good. Despite how far I have come in my own search for identity, I miss assignment based writing that hones technique and reassures your talent. It’s weird to piece things together alone, to write without anyone telling you how or why or what to accomplish. It’s been a challenge finally making writing a priority, writing for the self, writing on the daily, letting your thoughts walk around.

I know I’m not alone in feeling idle by my own array of ideas. Perhaps it’s brought me back to a place of being critical, and wanting all of my writing to mean something or be at a place of a finished publishable draft. It is interesting how often this feeling haunts me, especially when I created this blog to avoid the pressure of writing and throw pieces around regardless of where they’re at.

The plight to create is rough, exhilarating but rough. Reminds me of a vague memory of something I read on writing maybe two years ago. “I have learned we do better when we’re not trying too hard-there is nothing more deadening to creativity than the grim determination to write.” Abigail Thomas

Agree? Commiserate with me? Tell me about your projects? Your beautiful ideas? You trial and error?


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