Passion is inside each and every one of us. For some it is an innate desire from childhood, for others it germinates through the gauntlet of maturity. This ambition is what carries us through the day. It is a craving that caters our creative plate and palate. Whatever the drive it does not matter, as long it is always in motion.
Writing is my passion. It is my fascination.
I wasn’t born with it though, and it never came naturally. In fact, throughout my schooling it was a very humbling experience. A practice that meant I had to bare myself to the scrutiny of others. I didn’t like it because it scared me. But being scared is not a bad thing.
Because of this I often miss schooling. It surprises me to say that. I surprise myself further when I think about why. I was the problem student. I rarely paid attention in class. Homework seemed optional. Fun was the priority.
It feels odd to think affectionately on schooling, because of the satisfaction it brought. On the rare occasion that I did an assignment, it was so humbling or uplifting to receive a grade. Students are trained to this mentality. They are groomed and even nurtured by it. Most humans are. This instilled trait has made corporate, office jobs a commonplace in society.
Humans seek appreciation from bosses, teachers, parents, relationships, etc. It is why we get pets, play music, wear clothes, start a blog.
So what is more satisfying than getting an ‘A’ or receiving a boss’s approval? What is more powerful than earning a parent’s favor, or a coaches acclaim, or a standing ovation?
The single greatest level of acceptance available, is the kind you give yourself.
Being satisfied with something we create is hollowed ground. It is the pinnacle of existence. It is a beauty that cannot described with words or visual aides. It is an intoxicating feeling. And, it is hard.
Welcome to the conversation, true fear. How many times do we tell ourselves, ‘It’s not enough,’ or ‘I can do better,’ or ‘no good will come from this’? Hopefully everyday. This fear is intimidating, and that is good. Let it be a whetstone. Let it cloud over you and drive you, but never cripple.
When we are afraid of our own scrutiny, we are thrilled when we master it. We should be afraid to publish and preform, because we require our own perfection.
Music is fantastic example. When Bach first sat down with grinning keys in front of him, imagine the hesitation before he touched them. Think of the mistakes and the screeching out-of-key notes. What kind of itch was in his fingers when he played his first measures for his brother, a chorus for the church, a melody for the symphony, and canons for kings and queens and the world?
In writing, I have survived only on a tightrope of insecurities and failures. So much so that I could have easily stopped. I could have found something else. This might be in my nature, but it need not be. Instead I sought the challenge. If I can pick apart, rearrange, and ultimately destroy my own work until it is actually good, then I will be thrilled. I will have looked down the barrel of self doubt and shoot the fear away.
I urge every artist to do the same.
Grind yourself so deep into the ground, that only you can bring the sunlight back. Think of the creation only you can put out there, and work at it with thrilling, childish fervor. Think of the impossible scenario and hustle past it. Never take a break – you must not lose your edge. Never stop a project unless it needs to steep. Even then, be occupied by something else. Dismantle what you believe to be ‘okay’ and excavate that idea until it is perfection. Fear perfection might not be good enough and make it daunting. Cower beneath it to feel it’s weight. Feel that doubt begin to crush you, but never lose sight of it. Scratch, claw, climb above it until you are staring it down. Passion breeds fear. Work at it until it is thrilling. Put a masterpiece into our world.