Regardless of how proficient a writer, painter, or sculptor becomes, no matter how much knowledge they gather up over the years, it will probably never really feel enough. The feeling of having to, but not exactly knowing how to be just a bit better, will stay and gnaw on the soul forever.
And that’s fine.
Unlike monotonous and routine work like cleaning up or brushing ones teeth, creation always carries within itself a certain novelty. When we create — even if we’re doing the same thing over and over again — we always encounter something new.
Be it a new challenge, a new and better way of blending colours or expressing ourselves with our words, or just a new move we can incorporate into our dance routine — creating means venturing into the unknown. We never really know exactly how we’re going to do it.
But to truly have a sustainable career in the arts, we have to embrace this constant state of flux and push against the unknown, regardless of how we might feel about ourselves, our living arrangements, social and financial status or the weather.
Because when we do this everyday, we grow not only our skill and our craft, but we grow as people. Everyday we stand the storm of self-critique and the feeling of resistance towards creation diminishes, bit by bit it becomes easier and easier to overcome.
This is the reason many of us create; even if we don’t think about why we do what we do, we feel this internal urge to have a go at it. And while most might just call this a need to create, it is about so much more than just the act of expressing oneself.
To create is to have control. The control over existence itself — albeit minuscule at first glance, to be able to mould cloth and pigment into a depiction of beauty is a miracle we all can bring into existence.
And with it, we bring a bit of peace and comfort — the feeling that we really know what we are doing and that it is our purpose to do so — even if in the grander scheme of things nothing really matters and all we have ever known and felt may just be a speck of dust on the canvas of the ineffable, we create purpose everyday.
It will never feel like you really know what you’re doing, and that’s fine. Because the answer can’t be found in any single day, any single creation or any single brush stroke or chisel for that matter. It lays in the totality of everything we do and why we do it.
And at the core, every art piece does one job, and it does it with incredible proficiency: painting by painting, sculpture by sculpture, a bit of darkness is lifted from the world so that yet another beam of light can shine onto us all.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”